A British citizen living in Rwanda says Rwanda has been a victim of biased and undue criticism mainly due to how his country of birth has handled the issues around the UK-Rwanda Migration and Economic Partnership, which would see the former send refugees and asylum seekers to the East African country for processing.
Adam Bradford, a British social entrepreneur, who permanently moved to Rwanda last year, says there’s a lot of confusion caused by the undue criticism thrown at Rwanda because of the way the UK government has dealt with the issue, not because Rwanda is unsafe for refugees.
As someone who lives in Rwanda, Bradford says the Government of Rwanda has handled the issue diligently and Rwandans have not raised a concern at all but the handling of the issue has everything to do with whatever unfolded, but not because there is an issue in the proposed host country.
The entrepreneur believes that just like him, the refugees and asylum seekers will have an opportunity to come to Rwanda and work or take advantage of many other opportunities.
“I mean there’s no issue over here with the deal at all,” he says, in relation to the partnership, adding however that for the UK it is a big policy to stop the migrant boats and much as it is a new one, Rwanda has proved over the years that it has got the resources, safety and security to support vulnerable people.
“It is not like they are just gonna come here and do nothing. The people who come here will be trained, they’ll be housed, they will be put into work,” Bradford said in an interview with British network, GB News.
“There’s a lot of rhetoric thrown around, about Rwanda being unsafe, but you ironically that’s coming from the UNHCR, who are the same people who have worked with the Government of Rwanda to host refugees from Libya,” he added, pointing out that from Rwanda’s point of view, there is no problem whatsoever.
Bradford also said that even the way the media has reported the story has been highly biased and critical, without putting the reality on the ground in context. He pointed out that if they took an extra effort, they would find Rwanda not just to be a safe country, but also a progressive one.
Since relocating to Rwanda, having traveled to the country for the first time to attend the who first came to Rwanda for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM 2022), before returning to stay permanently, has taken it upon himself to debunk the biased reports about Rwanda.
Since the emergency of the ‘Rwanda plan’ last year, Bradford has been expressing his frustration about the blinding rhetoric reinforced by western media, that Rwanda is unsafe, yet realistically the country is safer than most European countries. He says the criticism and attacks directed to Rwanda are not just unfair but also prejudiced.
He blames existing narratives and stereotypes in that Africa is a poor continent, defined by images of poor children, bad systems, bad governance and corruption and other ills which make it inhabitable.
Bradford argues that no matter what any country seems to do to break out of that prejudice, it never seems to cut through. He says that a country like Rwanda has done a lot in terms of playing its part in the Commonwealth and the country has transparent and clear governance systems which work for people and residents.
‘There is no issue over here with the deal at all!'
Rwanda resident, Adam Bradford, says that Rwanda is safe and that British politicians have been 'biased' in their approach to the Rwanda Plan. pic.twitter.com/gY5acqolum
— GB News (@GBNEWS) December 8, 2023
Bradford maintains that the Rwanda that has been portrayed throughout this process is not the Rwanda he knows, which welcomes all people who wish to come and make a difference in the country by creating jobs and wealth.
In just a year and a half, Bradford has been able to establish himself and his organisation to tap into the many opportunities the country offers and it is disappointing to see western media consistently trying to paint a different image of Rwanda, something he says is disheartening.
The UK and Rwanda earlier this week signed a treaty to reinforce the existing partnership. UK Home Secretary, James Cleverly, who was in Kigali for the signing, said that indeed Rwanda has been subject to heavy unfair criticism, despite the country trying to play its part in dealing with the global migration crisis.
Bradford hopes that the new bill, which the UK Parliament is hoping to pass on Tuesday, will go to strengthen the partnership so it can begin to be implemented, but adds that it will depend on the unity of the Conservative Party back home.