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Rwanda Opposition Leader Questions UK-Rwanda Asylum Agreement

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Griffith Sarah

Apr 30, 2024

Despite labelling her a criminal, she continues to fight for  political rights and freedom

Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, a Rwandan opposition figure barred from contesting elections

Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, a Rwandan opposition figure barred from contesting elections, has expressed skepticism about the Rwandan government's commitment to adhere to a deportation agreement with the UK.

Umuhoza, who has been critical of Rwandan President Paul Kagame's administration, highlighted the regime's refusal to let her participate in the political process or leave the country as evidence of its disregard for international law.

The UK government, led by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, plans to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda, a move Umuhoza argues is compromised by Rwanda's questionable adherence to judicial fairness and international obligations. Her doubts are intensified by her need to seek justice through regional courts, which she believes underlines the lack of judicial independence in Rwanda.

The controversy around the UK's decision is further fueled by a UK Home Office report citing significant risks to opposition politicians and journalists in Rwanda, contradicting assertions of the country's safety for returnees. The report mentions forced exiles and possible assassinations among opponents of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), painting a grim picture of the political and civil landscape in Rwanda.

Despite Umuhoza's contentious relationship with the Rwandan government, which labels her a criminal, she continues to fight for her political rights and freedom, challenging her disqualification and the conditions of her prior incarceration through legal avenues.

The situation raises critical concerns about the effectiveness and ethical implications of the UK-Rwanda deportation agreement, given the reported state of political repression in Rwanda.

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