The government has acknowledged that Rwanda continues to struggle with its human rights reputation, despite Rishi Sunak’s assurance of its safety.
The documents published on Thursday stated that although Rwanda is currently a relatively calm nation with a strong adherence to law and order, there are still concerns regarding its human rights history, particularly in regards to opposition to the current government, expressions of dissent, and freedom of speech.
The evaluation was delivered in a government document known as a “policy statement,” which was sent by the home secretary, James Cleverly, to members of Parliament and the House of Lords in an attempt to gain support for the Rwanda bill.
The paperwork is created to back up the government’s assertion that Rwanda is a secure nation, a crucial aspect of Sunak’s law to salvage his main deportation agreement following its deemed illegal status in November.
The policy statement acknowledges that it may take several months for Rwanda to enact a new asylum law, which is necessary for the implementation of its new treaty with the UK. The prime minister has emphasized the importance of this treaty in his attempts to convince judges that the scheme is legal.
In 2017, citizens of Rwanda voted for Paul Kagame to serve a third term as president, with a reported 99% of the votes. However, international monitors reported multiple issues in both the 2017 and 2018 elections, including mistakes in the counting process. The US government also conducted an investigation and made similar findings.
The 2022 report on human rights in the US government pointed out that the Rwandan government hindered the establishment of political parties, limited their activities, and obstructed the registration of local and international NGOs focused on human rights, freedom of the press, or political involvement.
The prime minister is preparing for a confrontation in the House of Commons on Tuesday and Wednesday regarding his proposed plan for Rwanda.
Sir Robert Buckland, who previously held the position of justice secretary, has put forward several changes to the Rwanda safety bill. One of these changes involves removing clauses that designate the east African country as a safe nation.
Moderate conservatives are predicted to refrain from rebelling, unless Sunak offers concessions to conservative MPs from the “five families” of factions who aim to prevent international agreements from prohibiting flights.
Liz Truss, a previous prime minister, is now among over 30 conservative members of parliament who are pushing for stricter measures in the bill. Truss stated, “We have repeatedly promised the British public that we will take action against illegal immigration, but our efforts are constantly hindered by various legal loopholes that are being manipulated by activist lawyers.”
“It is crucial that the laws we are enacting are airtight and address any potential loopholes. This is why I support these numerous amendments.”
The Labour party intends to introduce changes to require the government to release the complete evaluation of the expenses associated with the bill, which includes ongoing expenses for removing individuals and information on the financial agreement made between the UK and Rwanda.
Meanwhile, ministers were accused of having a “woefully inadequate” plan to curb Channel crossings after failing to offer asylum seekers more legal ways to travel to the UK. The government was dutybound under the Illegal Migration Act passed last year to produce a report setting out what is meant by safe and legal asylum routes, and detailing which programmes were already in place, as well as any proposed additional ones.
However, in a written statement released as part of his duty, Cleverly did not outline any potential new secure paths.
According to the Refugee Council, the report does not provide any new safe options or enhancements to current programs.