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Rwanda Refuses to Reimburse $300 Million from UK Deportation Deal

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Ayize claire

Jul 10, 2024

New British PM Plans to Scrap Controversial Agreement, Raising Ethical Concerns

Rwandan President Paul Kagame and British Prime Minister Keir Starmer at the center of the controversial deportation deal dispute

Rwanda Hints It Won’t Reimburse $300 Million UK Paid for Deportation Deal After New British PM Says He’ll Ditch Agreement

The Rwandan government has indicated that it will not reimburse the more than $300 million received from the United Kingdom since 2022 for a contentious deal to deport asylum seekers deemed to have arrived illegally in the UK to Rwanda.

A spokesperson for the Rwandan government, Alain Mukuralinda, stated on Tuesday that the agreement with the UK did not include any “clause regarding reimbursement” following the newly-elected British Prime Minister Keir Starmer’s announcement to scrap the controversial agreement. Mukuralinda emphasized in a video posted by the state-owned Rwanda Broadcasting Agency that the signed international agreement did not stipulate the money would be refunded.

CNN has reached out to the UK Home Office for comments on the matter. The UK has given Rwanda £240 million (around $307 million) as part of the deal, according to a fact sheet published by the British government in April this year.

Prime Minister Keir Starmer, during his first press conference on Saturday, labeled the scheme a “gimmick” and stated he was “not prepared to continue” with it, denying that the bill served as an effective deterrent.

Initially announced in April 2022 by the then Conservative government under Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the plan faced numerous political and legal challenges, with lawmakers and activists condemning it on human rights grounds.

Former UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak defended the plan, claiming it aimed to deter vulnerable migrants from making perilous crossings and to disrupt the business model of criminal gangs exploiting them.

The bill was heavily criticized by UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi, who argued that it undermined international cooperation and set a worrying global precedent by shifting responsibility for refugee protection. Amnesty International UK also condemned the plan, calling it a “stain on this country’s moral reputation” that undermined international legal protections for vulnerable people.

Rwanda’s refusal to reimburse the funds raises ethical concerns about the country’s commitment to international agreements and the exploitation of such deals for financial gain. The lack of a reimbursement clause in the agreement further complicates the issue, highlighting potential oversight or negligence during the negotiation process. As the UK reevaluates its stance on this controversial deal, Rwanda’s rigid position casts a shadow over its diplomatic relations and accountability on the international stage.

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