Rwanda Accuses UNHCR of Fabricating Allegations Over Asylum Seeker Treatment

Kigali, Rwanda — Rwanda has accused the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) of presenting fabricated allegations to UK courts regarding the country’s treatment of asylum seekers. This accusation arises amid concerns about a controversial migration deal signed between the UK and Rwanda.

The UN refugee agency warned UK judges on Monday that it could present new evidence from 2024 indicating that Rwanda has endangered asylum seekers, despite the British Parliament passing a law declaring Rwanda a safe country for the UK to send asylum seekers. The UNHCR is also investigating allegations of abuse and the potential transfer of individuals to countries where they could face torture.

A UK judge has granted the UNHCR permission to prepare a dossier before any flight carrying asylum seekers departs the UK.

In response, Rwanda’s government spokesperson’s office released a statement accusing the UNHCR of lying. The statement highlighted a specific case in which the UNHCR allegedly decided to grant asylum to a man in Kigali, who had been denied asylum in Seychelles, without consulting Rwandan authorities.

“The organization seems intent on presenting fabricated allegations to UK courts about the country’s treatment of asylum seekers, while still partnering with us to bring African migrants from Libya to safety in Rwanda through the emergency transit mechanism,” the statement said.

Rwanda reiterated that it does not refoul asylum seekers and accused the UNHCR of undermining Rwanda’s safety within UK courts.

The migration deal, struck in April 2022, aims to send some migrants arriving in the UK across the English Channel to Rwanda, where their asylum claims would be processed. The British Parliament passed the Safety of Rwanda Bill in April, despite criticism from opposition parties and charities representing asylum seekers. The legislation was intended to address a Supreme Court ruling that deemed the scheme unlawful.

British media reports indicate that there will be no flights before at least July 24. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has stated that flights will resume once he is reelected.–News Desk