Rwandan official challenges Britain’s Supreme Court verdict on safety of asylum seekers

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A Rwandan official expressed concern on Wednesday over Britian’s Supreme Court’s ruling that deemed the country unsafe for asylum seekers.

In April 2022, Britain and Rwanda signed a deal intended to facilitate the transfer of some migrants arriving in Britain across the English Channel to Rwanda, where their asylum claims would undergo processing.

However, earlier on Wednesday, Britain’s Supreme Court ruled the government’s plan to send migrants to Rwanda as unlawful, citing that asylum-seekers faced a “real risk of ill-treatment” by potentially being sent back to their home countries upon arrival in Rwanda.

In response to the ruling, Yolande Makolo, the Rwanda government spokesperson, said that while the decision ultimately falls within Britain’s judicial system, Rwanda disagreed with being labeled as unsafe.

“We take issue with the ruling that Rwanda is not a safe third country for asylum seekers and refugees regarding refoulement,” she said on social media.

Makolo said the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and other international institutions recognize Rwanda’s treatment of refugees, and her country is committed to international obligations and collaboration with Britain to ensure the integration of relocated asylum seekers into Rwandan society.

“Rwanda is committed to its international obligations … We take our humanitarian responsibilities seriously and will continue to live up to them,” she affirmed.

The Rwanda-Britain Migration and Economic Development Partnership outlines provisions for integrating migrants from Britain into Rwandan communities, offering full protection under Rwandan law, according to government officials.

According to local media, Britain pledged an upfront investment of 120 million pounds (about 148 million U.S. dollars) to facilitate the implementation of this five-year agreement.

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