Rwandan parliament approves UK deal Dr Vincent Biruta

KIGALI. – Rwandan lawmakers have approved a treaty with the United Kingdom signed last December that would enable London to send asylum seekers to Rwanda.

At least 68 out of 70 lawmakers who attended the House plenary session on Wednesday voted in favour of the agreement, which was signed by British Home Secretary James Cleverly and Rwandan Foreign Minister Vincent Biruta in Kigali, the Rwandan capital.

Under the agreement, Rwanda will establish a special court to address cases and legal matters concerning refugees and asylum seekers, Rwandan Minister of Justice Emmanuel Ugirashebuja told the lawmakers.

A standard operating procedure will be followed to protect the migrants against refoulement, and an independent committee will be set up to audit the implementation of the agreement, he said.

“Refoulement” means being sent back to one’s country of origin where there is a risk of persecution.

In addition, Ugirashebuja said there will be an appeal tribunal headed by a Rwandan judge working together with another from a Commonwealth country, where migrants can reach in case of perceived unfair treatment.

In April 2022, London and Kigali signed a deal to facilitate the dispatch of some migrants who arrive in the UK across the English Channel to Rwanda, where their asylum claims would be processed.

That deal, formally called the Rwanda-UK Migration and Economic Development Partnership initiative, was blocked by Britain’s Supreme Court last November. – Xinhua

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