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Rwandan refugee programme gathers steam

Publish date: 01 April 2024
Issue Number: 1070
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
Category: General

A group of 91 refugees arrived in Rwanda from Libya last last month. They are refugees from Eritrea, Ethiopia, Sudan and South Sudan who had been trying to get into Europe but got stuck in Libya. The New Times reports that it was the 17th group of asylum seekers who have been evacuated from Libya to Rwanda since 2019 under the Emergency Transit Mechanism (ETM) programme. According to Rwanda's Ministry of Emergency Management and the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, 6 000 people have arrived in Rwanda since then. Of these, 1 600 have already been resettled in Europe and North America. Rwanda’s Senate last week voted to ratify the UK-Rwanda Asylum Partnership treaty under which people seeking asylum in the UK would be sent to Rwanda where their applications would be processed. The treaty was signed in Kigali on 5 December and stems from an earlier April 2022 MoU, the Migration Economic Development Partnership. The first plan faced opposition and legal challenges almost immediately, ending up in the UK Supreme Court, which in November 2023 ruled it unlawful and questioned Rwanda's safety. Following that ruling, the UK and Rwanda signed a new treaty on migration in December 2023. The UK Government subsequently tabled a Bill in parliament, which the House of Commons passed in January.

Full report in The New Times

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