Rwanda has dismissed claims that it is unsafe for refugees following a Supreme Court ruling in the United Kingdom which found the country’s plan to send refugees and asylum seekers to the East African country as unlawful.
Government Spokesperson, Yolande Makolo said that while the ruling is absolutely a UK issue, Rwanda is concerned with the allegation that the country is unsafe, claims which the government has consistently dismissed since it hosts thousands of refugees from other countries.
“This is ultimately a decision for the UK’s judicial system. However, we do take issue with the ruling that Rwanda is not a safe third country for asylum seekers and refugees, in terms of refoulement. Rwanda and the UK have been working together to ensure the integration of relocated asylum seekers into Rwandan society,”
“Rwanda is committed to its international obligations, and we have been recognized by the UNHCR and other international institutions for our exemplary treatment of refugees,” Makolo said shortly after the ruling by Lord Reed.
Rwanda further said that the examples raised in court to support the ruling were insensitive to violations of international humanitarian law ongoing in many parts of the world.
“The court relied on extreme and speculative concerns based on the hypocritical criticisms of the UNHCR, which has on numerous occasions expressed its appreciation of Rwanda’s inclusive refugee policies, qualifying them as ‘exemplary’,”
“For example, their claim of “100% rejection rate” of asylum seekers from some parts of the world is dishonest – a total of two individuals from Syria and Yemen were indeed not considered for asylum because there was a faster and more appropriate path to legal residence, and these individuals are currently living and working in Rwanda,” the Government Spokesperson added.
“Throughout this legal process we’ve been busy continuing to deliver progress for Rwandans, and working together with international partners to solve some of the biggest challenges that Africa and the wider world face. We take our humanitarian responsibilities seriously, and will continue to live up to them.”
Makolo said Rwanda will maintain a welcoming policy and record of caring for refugees, adding that the political judgments made today were unjustified.
On Rwanda not taking refugees from Israel, she said an earlier agreement with Israel to receive migrants was ended by Rwanda after it was deemed unworkable.
“Rwanda will now focus on working with the UK on a binding treaty to re-emphasize already existing guarantees required for the partnership to succeed,” she added.