The United Kingdom (UK) Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Thursday, June 29, said he “fundamentally disagrees” with a ruling by the Court of Appeal which among others stated that Rwanda is not a safe destination for asylum seekers and refugees.
Prime Minister Sunak who revealed plans by his government to appeal the ruling at the Supreme Court also said that he will do “whatever is necessary” to have the partnership happen.
“I strongly believe the Rwandan government has provided the assurances necessary to ensure there is no real risk that asylum- seekers relocated under the Rwanda policy would be wrongly returned to third countries – something that the Lord Chief Justice agrees with,” Sunak said in a statement on Thursday.
He reiterated that Rwanda is a safe country, adding that the High Court agreed and that the UNHCR has their own refugee scheme for Libyan refugees in Rwanda.
“We will now seek permission to appeal this decision to the Supreme Court. The policy of this government is very simple, it is this country – and your government – who should decide who comes here, not criminal gangs. And I will do whatever is necessary to make that happen.”
Dubbed “Migration and Economic Development Partnership”, the deal was initially established to allow migrants and asylum seekers who are illegally in the UK to be transferred to Rwanda.
A first of its kind in the world, the deal was also touted as part of the efforts to promote “the dignity and empowerment of migrants.”
While Thursday’s ruling is “ultimately a decision for the UK’s judicial system,” Rwanda’s government spokesperson Yolande Makolo said, “we do take issue with the ruling that Rwanda is not a safe country for asylum seekers and refugees.”
“We make a significant contribution to dealing with the impacts of the global migration crisis. Rwandans know what it means to be forced to flee home, and to make a new life in a new country.”
“As a society, and as a government, we have built a safe, secure, dignified environment, in which migrants and refugees have equal rights and opportunities as Rwandans. Everyone relocated here under this partnership will benefit from this,” she added.
This is the latest court verdict in UK’s plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda, a partnership that was inked in April, 2022, in Kigali.
“Rwanda remains fully committed to making this partnership work. The broken global migration system is failing to protect the vulnerable, and empowering criminal smuggling gangs at an immeasurable human cost. When the migrants do arrive, we will welcome them and provide them with the support they’ll need to build new lives in Rwanda,” Makolo added.