All For Rwanda Calls for Comprehensive Approach in Light of Concerning UK-Rwanda Migration Partnership
All For Rwanda, an organization dedicated to supporting, protecting, and fostering dialogue for a dignified solution to facilitate the return of Rwandan refugees, expresses profound concerns regarding the recently announced UK and Rwanda Migration and Economic Development Partnership. As discussions unfold about potential migrant reception, we urge both governments to prioritize addressing the critical issue of Rwandan refugees abroad before actively seeking to welcome new arrivals.
We acknowledge and endorse the British Supreme Court’s decision on November 15, 2023, which appropriately upheld the ban on sending migrants to Rwanda due to concerns about the nature of the Rwandan regime. This ruling resonates with the sentiments of the majority of Rwandans, reflecting widespread apprehensions within the community of Rwandans abroad.
Incontestably, Rwanda is an autocratic state and not safe for anyone seeking to enjoy their fundamental freedoms, whether they are Rwandan or foreign. Designating Rwanda as a ‘safe country’ does not change the despotic nature of the current regime, nor does it diminish the numerous human rights violations it has perpetrated in Rwanda and neighboring countries over the past 30 years.
Rwandan regime should prioritize the creation of policies that address the root causes of migration, including fostering an environment that discourages the creation of refugees, addressing political and economic challenges, and ensuring the protection of basic human rights.
The statistics reveal a stark reality – since 1998, more than 662,975 Rwandans have migrated for diverse reasons, constituting nearly 5% of the country’s population in 2023. Notably, 249,543 of these individuals hold an official refugee status under the UNHCR mandate. They are scattered across various countries, with a significant portion, such as those living in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo, enduring appalling humanitarian and security conditions. Additionally, a substantial number have been living in refugee camps for almost 30 years. It’s crucial to emphasize that this figure does not encompass stateless individuals.
The proposed UK-Rwanda partnership, while seemingly aimed at addressing migration concerns, must also consider the welfare of the Rwandans who have migrated and are living abroad as refugees or stateless individuals.
Simultaneously, we acknowledge the efforts outlined in the UK-Rwanda agreement, such as the establishment of an independent Monitoring Committee, an appeal body comprised of judges from diverse nationalities, and the strengthening of the Rwandan asylum system. These developments take into consideration the numerous and varied concerns regarding the partial, unjust, and non-independent nature of the Rwandan judicial system.
However, All For Rwanda emphasizes the need to extend these mechanisms to address concerns raised by Rwandans both domestically and within the community of Rwandan refugees abroad. This extension ensures a comprehensive and unbiased assessment of the human rights situation in Rwanda.
Additionally, we propose broadening the scope of the Appeal Body to include appeals from Rwandans facing human rights challenges within the country, rather than restricting it solely to relocated individuals.
These expansions will contribute to a more equitable system for those seeking asylum or protection, allowing Rwandans, both within the country and in the community of Rwandan refugees abroad, to raise complaints before the independent Monitoring Committee and have mixed tribunals adjudicate human rights violations affecting them.
All For Rwanda calls upon the UK and Rwandan governments to seriously consider these points, ensuring that the mechanisms established under this partnership address the broader concerns of the Rwandan population. We advocate for an inclusive and transparent approach to human rights, one that respects the dignity and well-being of all individuals, including Rwandans and those compelled to live in exile against their will. »
For further inquiries, please contact:
Norman Ishimwe Sinamenye (coordinator for humanitarian and human rights issues)
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