Regardless of Africa’s widely acclaimed status as a largely under developed continent, and the persistent recognition of its nations as third world country by mainstream media and global policy makers , most Pan Africanist , ingenious leaders and influencers in the nation yet refuse these labels, and have rather tried to instill in Africans the belief and fact that individually, they are as good as other races and even better than natives of first world countries in some areas of life.
On 14 April 2022, the UK government officially announced that it is going to send people who arrive in the UK to seek asylum to the Republic of Rwanda.
In a speech introducing the policy – known formally as the Migration and Economic Development Partnership – former Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that, “anyone entering the UK illegally – as well as those who have arrived illegally since January 1st – may now be relocated to Rwanda.”
Under the scheme, the UK’s legal responsibilities for such people would end once they have been relocated to the east African country. They will not be able to apply for asylum in the UK. Instead, they will be able to apply for asylum in Rwanda and have their claims processed there, within Rwanda’s asylum system. If such asylum applicants are successful, they will be offered protection in Rwanda, with no option to return to the UK.
On the above premise Rwanda and UK advanced their journey by entering a 5 year deal that will see some of the people seeking asylum in the UK, will be sent to Rwanda to claim their asylum there, which is likely going to create an un-harmonic atmosphere of a bunch of unhappy people being coerced to live in Rwanda. The deal stipulates that these people may be granted refugee status to stay in Rwanda, if that’s unfavourable to them, they can apply for to settle on other grounds or seek asylum in a safe ” third world country”
The UK government says it will deter people arriving in the UK through “illegal, dangerous or unnecessary methods”, such as on small boats which cross the English Channel. However, the numbers crossing have not fallen since the policy was announced on 14 April. More than 33,500 people have already used this route to come to the UK this year, the highest figure since records began.
The migrants will be sent to Rwanda not for offshore processing for possible settlement in the United Kingdom but as a permanent destination—and this symbolizes the next step in a broader policy push that some high-income countries are taking to externalize migration management.
According to www.migrantpolicy.org If it results in successful relocation of asylum seekers, governments or politicians keen to limit the right to seek asylum upon entry to a foreign state—whether the arrival occurred legally or not—could present this deal as proof of concept for their own externalization plans. Even the agreement’s existence now serves as precedent for these parties to speak about this openly, for example reinvigorating Austria and Denmark’s interest in a similar plan.
If the UK-Rwanda deal survives expected legal challenges and becomes operational, the damage to the DNA of the post-World War II protection system can hardly be overstated. Not only does it derogate from, and openly question, the principle of territorial asylum, i.e. the right to access the (national) asylum process upon setting foot on land, but it also advances the idea that states can pay to cast off the responsibilities they signed up to under the 1951 Geneva Convention. (The UK government will pay Rwanda an initial GBP 120 million for economic development and growth, and will pick up operational costs of the program, along with accommodation and integration expenses.)
The arrangement threatens to intensify the reshaping of the global protection regime from a system driven by a shared moral commitment to a transactional one where countries that are willing to host (even more) refugees lever it to strike deals on trade, economic cooperation, or development, as exemplified by the larger partnership that Rwanda reached with the United Kingdom. And for the refugees themselves, it further makes them pawns, removing any sense of control and agency over their destiny and pushing them more into the hands of smugglers and traffickers.
Rwanda one of the highly promising nation in the continent of Africa has seemingly taken a step backwards towards the concept of lifting Africa’s image to the pedestal where the leading nations of the world hold themselves, by accepting to be a dumping ground of sort for migrants who are seeking asylum in United Kingdom.
Regardless of the moral codes that requires every human to be their brother’s keeper ,we are yet to see what’s ennobling in Rwanda’s migrant deal to become a host to people UK rejected on the grounds that they are somehow someway not fit to be allowed to live in United Kingdom.
Why Rwanda ? these migrants in the first place have their reasons of heading to UK to seek refuge and in their calculation had not seen chances of their socio-economic survival in Africa and not made Rwanda their destination of choice either.
Oppositions from well-meaning organisations and activists from Rwanda and the DRC say the deal could have serious implications for Congo-DRC and the East and Central Africa. Also, Enver Solomon, Chief Executive of the Refugee Council, Filippo Grandi, UN Refugee Chief, Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, and Prince Charles, heir to the British throne, have all condemned the deal describing the action as appalling, nasty and abdication of responsibility by a sovereign state.
Rwandan President Paul Kagame has defended the asylum plan, dismissing allegations that “the U.K. gave Rwanda money to dump people here,” further stating that it was “just a problem that needs to be solved and Rwanda is ready to help.” He favourably compared the plan to his 2018 proposal to give asylum to Libyan refugees.
Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, leader of the opposition in Rwanda, criticized the policy as dealing with British issues where Rwanda’s problems should be dealt with first. She also claimed that Rwanda was not prepared for the new immigrants: “If our people don’t have enough to eat, if our kids or Rwanda’s kids don’t have the possibility of going to school because of the poverty, how will the Rwandan government give education to the kids of refugees?”
What do you think about this migrant swap deal, leave your opinion on the comment section under this article, we want to gauge the peoples sentiment regarding it, is Rwanda in the right for helping out United Kingdom that spends £1.5bn a year on its migrant asylum system, more than £4.7m a day on hotel accommodation for refugees and asylum seekers. Or is amplifying the notion that Africa will always play a second fiddle to the West by accepting this lopsided deal for 120Million British Pounds in cash.