rwanda to increase political clout due to refugee deal with uk
United Kingdom – The U.K.’s agreement to send asylum seekers to Rwanda was suspended by the European Court of Human Rights. The government of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, though, is not giving up.
They contend that the proposal will prevent unlawful trafficking and discourage migrants from many nations from beginning perilous treks over the English Channel, therefore saving lives.
We contacted Phil Clark, a professor of international politics at SOAS University of London whose research focuses on Rwanda and its neighbors, to learn what this agreement implies for Rwanda. According to Clark, Rwanda is constantly looking for new ways to increase its influence.
And it makes a tiny nation capable of being pretty powerful politically, according to Phil Clark.
FADEL: Rwanda has already received payment from Great Britain in the amount of roughly 150 million dollars ahead. How much of Rwanda’s motivation was commercial, I questioned Clark?
Clark added that the Rwandan government won’t benefit significantly from this deal. The political clout Rwanda enjoys in this situation is the bigger problem. And in the past, Rwanda has threatened to withdraw from international agreements if criticism of its domestic human rights record, including criticism of its crackdown on the media and political dissidents, becomes too loud.
“When foreign donors threatened to stop providing money to Rwanda, it previously vowed to withdraw its peacekeepers from Darfur. That kind of leverage is what I believe Rwanda is hoping to obtain from this U.K. immigration pact,” he said.
Fadel questioned Clark about the issues of human rights when it comes to refugees being transported from the UK to Rwanda.
“When you discuss having them removed from the UK, activists there have a lot of issues as well,” he said.
Clark replied that the general situation of Rwandan politics is undoubtedly a cause for valid human rights concerns. The political structure in Rwanda is quite closed.
“Since I’ve been employed there for 20 years, I believe it’s been harder for critical media or opposition voices to function there. Now, I believe a distinct question is whether that directly impacts refugees and asylum seekers,” he added.
In general, Rwanda has a solid track record of caring for refugees and asylum seekers from nearby nations, and for the past few decades, it has managed refugee camps, especially for Burundian and Congolese refugees.
In one event in 2018, the Rwandan government opened fire on refugees in a Congolese camp, resulting in the deaths of several of the refugees. Thus, there is that certain historical period. However, Rwanda has a generally good track record of managing these camps humanely.