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In Morocco, Rwanda Insists Migrants Are NOT Criminals

by Dan Ngabonziza
9:22 am

Richard Sezibera speaking at the Marrakesh compact

Rwanda’s Foreign Affairs Minister Dr. Richard Sezibera has insisted that migrants are not ‘criminals’ – despite massive harsh treatment in some host countries.

On December 10, Global leaders meeting in Morocco adopted the Global Compact for Migration, an international strategy to deal with migrant flows first introduced at the United Nations General Assembly two years ago.

“The For Migration compact adopted in Marrakech, although non-binding, is a major milestone in international cooperation to deal with one of the more important moral issues of our time….and yes, let’s say it, migrants are not criminals,” Minister Sezibera tweeted.

The compact approved by 164 countries is meant to end the trauma of migrant experiences across Africa and the Mediterranean, in Asia, in Latin America and beyond.

In November last year, Rwanda announced its doors were open for African migrants after imagery reports emerged displaying torture on migrants who were trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea through Libya.

While some were being sold as slaves, Rwanda said it was offering shelter and transportation to thousands of the victims.

The country is also host of more than 200,000 of refugees from neighboring Burundi and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) who fled conflicts in their home countries.

In April this year, a Canadian research Institute; Gallup Migrant Acceptance Index (MAI) ranked Rwanda on the third position among 140 countries in terms of accepting migrants and welcoming/integrating them into the host society.

Richard Sezibera with Antonio

Meanwhile, speaking at the Marrakesh conference that adopted the Global Compact for Migration, United Nations Secretary General António Guterres called it a “roadmap to prevent suffering and chaos.”

In a speech that marked the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Guterres affirmed the human dignity and rights of all migrants while opting to dispel myths about the compact in his address.

In the sideline of the conference, Minister Sezibera held talks with the UN Secretary General António Guterres.

“Fruitful discussions with António Guterres in Marrakech. Rwanda supports safe, orderly and regular migration,” Minister Sezibera tweeted after the meeting.