By Lisa Vives, Global Information Network
NEW YORK | 18 December 2023 (IDN) — While UK officials debate the wisdom of sending immigrants seeking asylum to Rwanda, they do so despite a decision rendered last month by the British Supreme Court finding the scheme unlawful because Rwanda is not a safe third country and migrants are at risk of being sent back to their homelands where they would be at risk of abuse.
Nonetheless, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak holds out hopes that new legislation will fulfil his pledge to stop people arriving across the Channel in small boats.
From their safe perch in London, England, members of the UK’s House of Commons voted on 12 December in favor of the ‘Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Migration)’ bill. Vocal opposition from various MPs, have not slowed passage of the bill which passed its second reading by 313 votes to 269.
Safety in Rwanda is far from assured. Rwandan opposition leader Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza described her experience in Rwandan exile as a shock to Rwandans. “We know this is no place for asylum seekers.”
Rwanda is not a free country
Ingbire Umuhoza was sentenced to 15 years’ jail for speaking out about the government in her country. She was among the few who publicly disapproved of the deportation plan cooked up by British parliamentarians “but I could only do so on social media and in foreign publications and channels, as local media would not dare give me the platform.”
“Rwanda is not a free country because political rights are restricted and civil liberties are curbed. Moreover, it remains among the poorest and least developed countries in the world and the most unequal country in the east of Africa region.
Other human rights violations have included the unlawful jailing of journalist Theoneste Nsengimana since October 2021 for “spreading rumors to cause unrest among the population.” Denial of press credentials to Journalists Benedict Moran and Anjan Sundaram for publishing criticism of President Kagame.
Despite no deportations taking place, Britain has already paid Rwanda $300 million. While Britain hopes to send thousands of migrants, at the moment Rwanda only has the capacity to take a few hundred. [IDN-InDepthNews]
Photo: Ingbire Umuhoza was sentenced to 15 years’ jail for speaking out about the government in her country. Source: Twitter.
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