British Home Secretary James Cleverly arrived in Rwanda on Tuesday where he is set to meet his Rwandan counterpart, Dr. Vincent Buruta, to sign a new treaty to guide the UK-Rwanda Migration and Economic Development (MEDP).
Under the revised treaty, the two countries will move forward on implementing the migration policy, which will see the UK deport migrant and asylum seekers to Rwanda as a deterrent measure to prevent thousands of refugees crossing the English channel to Britain.
The plan has been delayed by a number of legal challenges in the UK and Europe but the two countries maintain that the plan will be key in resolving the global migration crisis and provide a long lasting answer to the challenge many countries are dealing with today.
Upon arrival in Rwanda, Secretary Cleverly was welcomed at Kigali International Airport by Clementine Mukeka, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation and the UK High Commission to Rwanda, Omar Daair before he head to Kigali Genocide Memorial at Gisozi, to pay his respects to the victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
Through the plan, the UK hopes to cut migration and both countries hope it can be a solution which can be replicated elsewhere.
The UK’s Supreme Court last month ruled that the UK-Rwanda partnership would not be lawful because Rwanda is not considered safe but Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has vowed to carry on with it. PM Sunak and President Kagame met in Dubai, UAE, on the sidelines of COP28 and the two leaders discussed further on the partnership.
Rwanda too dismissed claims that it was unsafe for refugees yet the country hosts thousands of them from different countries. Ahead of traveling to Rwanda to meet his counterpart, Dr. Biruta, Cleverly defended Rwanda’s credentials in terms of protecting refugees.
“Rwanda cares deeply about the rights of refugees, and I look forward to meeting with counterparts to sign this agreement and further discuss how we work together to tackle the global challenge of illegal migration,” Cleverly said.
“Immigration cannot undercut British workers. It’s just common sense. Today, we’re taking radical action to bring it down,” Cleverly posted on X, formerly Twitter, before travelling to Rwanda.
Britain’s immigration minister Robert Jenrick said the government had to act because those arriving on small boats were effectively breaking into the country.
In Rwanda, the Ministers from both sides are expected to publish new legislation soon, addressing some of the legal challenges which were raised in different courts to block the process but ultimately the UK government says it will see through the implementation of the pact.