UK and Rwanda sign agreement to relocate asylum seekers


(CNN) — The governments of the United Kingdom and Rwanda announced this Thursday the signing of an agreement to tackle illegal migration, which includes the relocation in the African country of those who request asylum in the United Kingdom.

“Today the UK and Rwanda have signed a new joint migration and economic development partnership to end this deadly trade and human trafficking,” UK Home Secretary Priti Patel told a news conference. jointly with the Rwandan Foreign Minister.

Patel said the relocated “will receive support that includes up to five years of training, integration, housing, health care, so they can resettle and thrive,” adding that “this agreement fully complies with all international and domestic laws.”

Asked by a reporter what the criteria for resettlement would be, Patel said “we are very clear that all people who enter the UK illegally will be considered for resettlement and will be taken to Rwanda, I am not going to divulge specific criteria for a number of reasons. “.

Throughout the conference, the Home Secretary insisted that the aim of this deal was to improve the UK’s asylum system, which has faced “a combination of real humanitarian crises and vicious human traffickers profiting from exploiting the system for their own benefit”.

The deal is a “partnership between two countries” and not a “one-sided deal,” according to Patel, “and as part of this groundbreaking deal, the UK is making a substantial investment in Rwanda’s economic development.”

During the joint press conference, Rwandan Foreign Minister Vincent Biruta said his country was pleased to be working with the UK on this partnership and was prepared to “invest in personal development, provide education and provide opportunities for job”.

“Those who do not wish to make Rwanda their new home will be made easier to return to their country of origin or settle in other host countries,” he added.

Asked if Rwanda has the infrastructure to accommodate the influx, Biruta said the country has the capacity to receive migrants and will invest in new infrastructure to educate and house migrants with support from the UK.

Biruta made it clear that the program will only be for UK asylum seekers who are in the UK. Rwanda will consider the criminal history of each migrant to determine eligibility to enter the country and “would prefer not to receive people from immediate neighbors like the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi, Uganda, Tanzania.”

“There will be a system to screen those who want to come here or those who have been identified as people who could benefit from this program,” he added.

— With reporting by Sarah Diab in London and Bethlehem Feleke in Nairobi.



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