Home NewsNational Rwanda Moves To Align Laws Governing Refugees And Asylum Seekers Following Cabinet Approval

Rwanda Moves To Align Laws Governing Refugees And Asylum Seekers Following Cabinet Approval

by Edmund Kagire
2:18 am

President Kagame chaired the meeting which made key decisions and approvals. Photos/Urugwiro Village.

A cabinet meeting chaired by President Paul Kagame at Urugwiro Village on Wednesday, approved the Draft law governing refugees and applicants for refugee status in Rwanda, in a bid to align the country’s laws with the evolving nature of global refugee and asylum demands.

In the same light, the cabinet also approved a Presidential Order governing the refugees and applicants for refugee status appeal tribunal, which will complement the draft law, in an effort to create more conducive grounds for refugees and asylum seekers to apply for their respective statuses in Rwanda.

The two legal documents approved by cabinet come days after President Kagame said that Rwanda remains committed to receiving refugees and asylum seekers from the UK, regardless of major setbacks that have delayed the implementation of the UK-Rwanda Migration and Economic Development Partnership (MEDP).

Under this partnership, the UK would send refugees and asylum seekers to Rwanda for processing but the implementation has been hampered by legal and legislative blockages and back-and-forth in the UK -delays President Kagame reiterates have nothing to do with Rwanda.

Under the arrangement, Rwanda has made some major changes in laws and other processes relating to refugees and asylum seekers to meet some of the demands by UK lawmakers who continue to block Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s plan to send refugees and asylum seekers, who arrive in small boats across the English channel, to Rwanda as a deterrent measure.

In an interview earlier this week, President Kagame said that whether the plan with the UK works out or not, Rwanda will remain committed to receiving refugees and asylum seekers as part of the country’s efforts to contribute to addressing the global migration crisis.

The Head of State said that even before the UK-Rwanda partnership, the country was already receiving refugees and asylum seekers from elsewhere, citing African refugees and asylum seekers who have been relocated to Rwanda from Libya, where they were living in horrid conditions, in their attempt to cross the Mediterranean Sea to Europe.

“The issue is not about the UK alone or about us as Rwanda because we don’t have such a crisis. Even before the UK plan, we were doing what we could to help address this global crisis, receiving mainly African refugees from Libya since 2018. Even today they are still coming. We have received more than 2,000 to date,” President Kagame said.

He pointed out that these efforts led to the UK approaching Rwanda to discuss the plan but the delays came from the UK, not Rwanda, but the main objective was and remains to address a global crisis, adding that some other countries have contacted Rwanda on the same and discussions are ongoing.

More laws and appointments

Apart from laws governing refugees and asylum seekers, the cabinet also approved the draft law governing non-governmental organizations and a draft law establishing tax on minerals as well as amendments to the laws governing cooperatives in Rwanda, the law establishing regulations governing civil aviation.

The cabinet meeting also approved the draft law governing the Chancellery for Heroes, National Orders and Decorations of Honour as well as the Prime Minister’s Order determining mission, responsibilities, organisational structure, salaries and fringe benefits for employees of the Ministry of Defence.

In other news, the cabinet also approved several diplomatic appointments as well as representatives of international organisations, including Fatmata Lovetta Sesay, who was appointed the new Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Rwanda.

In other decisions, the Cabinet made key appointments in the Rwanda Food and Drugs Authority (RFDA), with Associate Professor Raymond Muganga, appointed the Head of Laboratory Services Department while Dr. Vedaste Habyalimana was appointed Head of Drugs Department.

Other appointees include Dr. Eric Nyirimigabo, who is the Head of Food Department, Ines Uwineza, the Division Manager for Drugs Testing while Dr. Peter Rwibasira was appointed Division Manager for Vaccines & Biologics Testing, among other appointments.

In the Ministry of Health, Elsie Uwumutima was appointed the Director General of Corporate Services and in Rwanda Biomedical Centre (RBC), Annick Ishimwe is the new Division Manager for Medical Technology. In the same institution, Sophie Nzabananimana was appointed the Division Manager of Corporate Services.

The cabinet was also briefed on the activities of Kwibuka 30 in line with the 30th commemoration of the Genocide against the Tutsi.

Dr Jean Damascène Bizimana, Minister for National Unity and Civic Engagement, briefed the cabinet on Kwibuka 30 events


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