The UK government recently signed an agreement with the government of Rwanda to receive asylum seekers crossing the English channel. Under the Asylum Partnership Arrangement, people arriving in the UK irregularly since January 1st 2022 may be sent here on a one way ticket to have their asylum claim processed and if recognized as refuges, to be granted refugee status here.

The new deal sent tongues wagging with critics of Rwanda jumping on the opportunity to tear apart a country that has a trusted record as far as reception and treatment of refugees is concerned.

“Some have been quick to criticize the partnership, invoking lazy stereotypes about Rwanda. They fail to acknowledge the transformation of the country in recent decades, and that refugees will be given an opportunity to build a safe and secure new life in one of the world’s fastest growing economies” said Lord Popat the UK Prime Minister’s trade envoy to Rwanda, Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo

Did Rwanda accept migrants and asylum seekers because of money?

“We were approached because of how we managed the case of Libyan refugees; it would be a mistake for people to just make a conclusion like “oh, you know Rwanda got money”, it’s not trading, we are not trading human beings, please. This is not the case. We are actually helping. And we have other refugees that have stayed here for decades, refugees from different parts of our region. They are here we live with them,” President Paul Kagame.

Why did Rwanda accept to host Migrants and Asylum seekers?

Yolande Makolo Rwanda’s Government Spokesperson said in a statement “Rwanda has a strong record on receiving Migrants and Refugees, for the last 28 years we’ve hosted more than 130,000 refugees from neighboring countries, we’ve also of recent welcomed refugees evacuated from dangerous situations from Libya and other refugees including Afghans who live with us in our community, we have a long experience of welcoming and hosting refugees, we also have the experience of being refugees or displaced because of our recent history of conflict, so we know what it means to be desperate for a safe haven and an opportunity to live a decent and dignified life.

Teklay’s testimony;

Teklay who came to Rwanda as a refugee from Eritrea is the Simba Supermarket Chairman 1998 there was a border conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea he was forced to leave Ethiopia because of war “To me Rwanda is everything I created my family here, I have four kids and a number of companies. By the time I came I knew no one here, things were hard in the beginning, I started from a little company called ERI-RWANDA which was a trading company and 10 years later we got also a supermarket called SIMBA SUPERMARKET

Life is easy here, Rwandans are very welcoming, they treat everyone alike, there’s no difference between locals and foreigners”

Does Rwanda have so much hence accepting to host Asylum Seekers?

In 2019 the time when Rwanda brought in refugees from Libya Richard Mutabazi Mayor of Bugesera District said “We don’t have a lot to give but we can share the little resources we have with a big heart.’

Courtesy of the Times “Not only will the partnership help to reduce illegal migration and the unsustainable pressures on public services that it entails, it will also help break the business model of those inhumane criminal gangs who are risking lives every day by facilitating perilous journeys across the Channel. At the same time, it will support economic development in Rwanda and provide refugees protection and a chance to rebuild their lives in one of Africa’s most dynamic countries”. Lord Popat.