• Wednesday, 24 July 2024
Rwanda states no agreement to return UK's Ksh.38B as asylum deal goes awry

Rwanda states no agreement to return UK's Ksh.38B as asylum deal goes awry

The Rwandan government will not be reimbursing Ksh.38.6 billion that it received from the United Kingdom as part of an agreement for sending asylum seekers to the East African nation. 

 

In a video posted by the state-owned Rwanda Broadcasting Agency, the government spokesperson Alain Mukuralinda revealed that there is no clause in the agreement that talked about refunding the amount in case either party wants to withdraw. 

“We had an agreement. Both parties signed, it became an international agreement, we start implementing it, then after that you want out … best of luck,” the spokesperson said.  

“Within the agreement there was no clause regarding reimbursement… it never stated that the money would be refunded."

 

"The Rwanda scheme was dead and buried before it started. it's never been a deterrent. I'm not prepared to continue with gimmicks that don't act as a deterrent," he explained. 

The agreement was introduced in April 2022 under former Prime Minister Boris Johnson to address the huge influx of people reaching the UK without authorisation by crossing the border in small boats. 

As part of the deal, the UK channeled Ksh38.6 billion to Rwanda to realise the policy. It, however, received a lot of backlash from critics who alleged that the proposal violated human rights. In November 2023, the UK Supreme Court declared the policy as unlawful, citing that Rwanda was not a safe country for asylum seekers. 

 

In response to the court's decision, the government published a new treaty with Rwanda which introduced additional security measures and a legislation which declared Rwanda as a safe country. 

Former UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak also echoed Johnson's sentiments and said that the asylum plan sought to deter vulnerable migrants from joining criminal gangs and engaging in evil activities. 

In April 2024, UK's treaty with Rwanda was ratified and the Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Act 2024 became law. 

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