Rwanda’s Parliament Approves Migrant Agreement with the UK:

Kigali, February 22, 2024- The Rwandan Chamber of Deputies has passed a legislative bill ratifying an agreement between Rwanda and the United Kingdom aimed at relocating migrants and asylum seekers from the UK to Rwanda. This decision was reached after a majority vote where 58 deputies endorsed the agreement, with two opposing and two abstaining. The discussion was sparked by a presentation from Emmanuel Ugirashebuja, the Rwandan Minister of Justice and Attorney General, explaining the bill’s rationale and objectives.

The legislative session revealed a spectrum of opinions among the deputies. Concerns were raised by two deputies, notably Frank Habineza and Jean Claude Ntezimana, questioning the UK’s decision to transfer asylum seekers and migrants to Rwanda instead of hosting them. In contrast, others, like Germaine Mukabalisa and Odette Uwamariya, expressed no reservations about the initiative, indicating a broad consensus in favor of the agreement.

This legislative approval paves the way for Rwanda to host up to 10,000 migrants and asylum seekers over the next five years, with an initial intake of 2,000 individuals in the first four months. The UK has allocated approximately 240 million pounds (around 300 billion Rwandan francs) to this project. In preparation, Rwanda has trained 151 individuals to manage and care for the migrants and asylum seekers arriving from the UK. The country has also identified several accommodations, including hotels, ensuring that the newcomers are not confined to camp-like settings and are distributed across various regions.

The agreement, initiated in 2022, has faced legal and ethical challenges in the UK, with courts, human rights advocates, media, and non-governmental organizations questioning the appropriateness of Rwanda as a host country for migrants and refugees. Critics argue that the transfer contravenes international law and raises serious human rights concerns.