Scrapped £270m Migrant Scheme: We’ ll not refund Britain. says Rwanda

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By Tosan Edematie

Rwanda’s Ministry of Justice has stated that the country is under “no obligation to provide any refund” after Britain scrapped a £270 million migrant resettlement scheme. Dr. Doris Uwicyeza Picard emphasized that Rwanda had increased its capacity to accommodate “thousands of migrants” as part of its commitment to the agreement.

Despite receiving around £270 million from the UK, no migrants have been deported to Rwanda. Prime Minister Sir Keir Starmer criticized the scheme, declaring it “dead and buried before it started” and ineffective as a deterrent for Channel crossings. The initiative had been praised by former Home Secretary Suella Braverman during her visit to Kigali.

Dr. Uwicyeza Picard, addressing Starmer’s decision, stated: “Rwanda has upheld its side of the agreement by ramping up capacity to accommodate thousands of migrants and asylum seekers. We have upheld our end of the deal and invested significant effort and resources into this initiative. While we understand that government policies can change, this was a state-to-state agreement, and we expect good faith to be maintained.”

Labour argues that cancelling the Rwanda scheme will release £75 million in the first year of their government, which will be used to establish a new Border Security Command. This body, comprising Border Force, MI5, and the National Crime Agency (NCA), aims to combat people-smuggling gangs.

Speaking to the BBC World Service, Dr. Uwicyeza Picard reiterated: “We are under no obligation to provide any refund. We will remain in discussions, but there is no requirement for either side to request or receive a refund.” She also noted that Rwanda was informed of the UK’s decision and stressed that the partnership was initiated to address a UK problem, with Rwanda stepping up to offer support.

Since April 2022, the UK had paid £220 million to Rwanda, with additional annual payments of £50 million planned for the next three years. These payments were expected to total £370 million over five years. Further payments of £120 million would have been made if more than 300 people were sent to Kigali, along with £20,000 per individual relocated.

A break clause in the agreement allows Britain to avoid two additional payments of £50 million in 2025 and 2026 without penalty. However, the UK will still need to fund the four asylum seekers already flown to Kigali. The Home Office had scheduled a deportation flight for July 24.

A spokesperson for Home Secretary Yvette Cooper criticized the scheme, calling it a “scandalous waste” of taxpayer money, as only four people had been removed in over two years. The spokesperson added that a Labour government would prioritize border security through a new Border Security Command to combat smuggling gangs.

Additionally, three asylum seekers who challenged their potential removal to Rwanda have had their cases resolved in the High Court. Their claims will be reassessed in line with the new government’s asylum policy, which does not involve removals to Rwanda.

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