Jump to navigation


London courts to rule again on legality of London-Kigali asylum plan

British Home Secretary Suella Braverman pushes ahead with scheme, winning backing from Italy's far right leader

The battle over the £120 million (US$150m) 'cash for asylum seekers' agreement between the UK and Rwanda reached the Court of Appeal in London last week, as both governments step up their efforts to promote the programme (AC Dispatches, 21/3/23, After meeting with Kagame, Braverman ploughs on with cash for asylum-seekers scheme).

The scheme has not yet become operational, more than a year after being finalised, because of protracted disputes over its legality (AC Vol 63 No 9, Refugee deal faces delays as legal and political challenges grow).

The High Court in London ruled in December that plans to send asylum seekers to Rwanda while their status is being decided are lawful. Then the legal team for a group of asylum seekers challenged the British government's plan before the Court of Appeal in London, on the grounds that Rwanda is not a safe country.

Lawyers representing the UN High Commissioner for Refugees said in written arguments submitted to the court that the deal will 'expose asylum-seekers to a real risk of breaches of the Refugee Convention.' Yet the political support behind the scheme in Britain's ruling Conservative party is growing.

At the end of last month, the British government's migration control bill, which would increase powers to detain and deport irregular migrants, passed its third reading in the House of Commons.

On a visit to London last week, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni lent her support for the agreement with Kigali adding that it was wrong to describe it as deportation. Meloni is hoping to strike a similar deal with Libya.

'I think that talking about deportation or suggesting that Rwanda would be a country that does not respect rights and would be an inadequate or unworthy nation is a racist way of interpreting things,' she said.

Both London and Kigali are stepping up their efforts to sell the plan in the court of public opinion. Project Associates, a London-based political consultancy, have been brought in to talk up the living conditions and opportunities that await the asylum seekers in Rwanda, we hear. Previously, rival London lobbyists Chelgate had been on retainer for the Rwandan government.

Related Articles

Refugee deal faces delays as legal and political challenges grow

The arrangement under which London could send asylum-seekers to Kigali would be politically useful for both countries' leaders

Britain's plan to send asylum-seekers who cross the English Channel to Rwanda was due to start next month but faces serious legal challenges which could delay its introduction for ...

Making money with Britain's help

Share transfers can provide a means to export foreign exchange from Zimbabwe, as long as you get permission

Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono and Harare businessman Mohammed I. Mohammed are using a British company to siphon tens of millions of US dollars out of Zimbabwe to buy fuel and f...

Deadly anniversary

The regime prepares to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the genocide

Six months after his Front Patriotique Rwandais swept the board at last year's presidential and parliamentary elections, President Paul Kagame is still putting his regime in order ...

M23 makes the running

The mutineers hold the cards and are setting the agenda: they may strike Goma soon

Although six governments signed an agreement in Addis Ababa on 15 July to promote security in eastern Congo-Kinshasa, rebels still threaten Goma, the base of the United Nations for...