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#Human Angle

Rwanda Declares No Repayment Required to the UK for Terminated Deal

UK-Rwanda Immigration Deal

Rwanda has stated that it is not obligated to refund the UK following the cancellation of a multi-million pound migrant deal between the two nations. The UK Prime Minister and Labour Party leader Keir Starmer recently declared that the controversial plan to deport some asylum seekers to Rwanda is “dead and buried.”

The deal, originally established by the previous Conservative government, involved a £240 million ($310 million) payment to Rwanda, which was made after the plan was announced in 2022. However, due to legal challenges, the scheme was never implemented, and the UK had hoped to recover some of the funds.

A Rwandan government spokesperson clarified on state television that the agreement did not include any provisions for refunding the money. Alain Mukuralinda explained that the agreement was extensively discussed and that refunding was never part of the deal. Although Rwandan President Paul Kagame had suggested in January that some funds might be returned if no asylum seekers were sent to Rwanda, the Rwandan government later emphasized that there was “no obligation” to reimburse the UK.

In Kigali, where workers were employed to build housing for the anticipated asylum seekers, there is concern about the impact of the scheme’s cancellation. One worker at the Gahanga site expressed worries that the end of the project could negatively affect their livelihood. Additionally, resident Mariya Nyirahabimana noted that property values in her neighborhood had risen due to the construction but feared that the community might face renewed poverty.

Following a decisive election victory, Starmer has criticized the Rwanda scheme as an expensive “gimmick” and pledged to focus on establishing a new Border Security Command to combat people-smuggling gangs. The scheme faced significant opposition, including a ruling from the UK Supreme Court declaring it unlawful, criticism from human rights organizations for being inhumane, and calls from within the Conservative Party for amendments to protect it from legal challenges.

The previous government had promoted the scheme as a deterrent against illegal crossings of the English Channel, which have continued, with over 13,000 people making the journey in small boats so far this year. Meanwhile, Denmark had been considering a similar arrangement with Rwanda but postponed discussions last January, seeking a more unified European approach to illegal migration.

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