This Friday, June 24, the Commonwealth Heads of Government Summit will be held in Rwanda, bringing together around the British crown, the 54 countries. In Kigali, the British Prime Minister will meet President Kagame, with whom he plans to discuss their new migration agreement.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been in Rwanda since Thursday, June 23. In Kigali, the leader will attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Summit along with several other leaders.
If the bulk of the exchanges will revolve around strengthening ties between the member countries of the almost secular organization, the burning issue of the migration pact between the United Kingdom and Rwanda should undoubtedly arise during the discussions. Since the announcement of this “historic” agreement, Kigali and London have indeed been the target of criticism from an international community which sees in this partnership an “inhumane” way for the British government to get rid of migrants on its territory.
While the English press reports that the project is criticized even in the highest instances of the British royal family, Boris Johnson and Paul Kagame have shown their intention to pursue it, despite a first setback suffered before European justice. Before leaving for Kigali, the British Prime Minister told journalists that he would meet with the Rwandan President on the subject.
“This is an opportunity for all of us to figure it out for ourselves, to understand what this partnership has to offer, and what Rwandans have to offer, and to help others shed their condescending attitudes to the regard to Rwanda and the way in which this partnership can work”, he underlined in remarks reported by the British press.
The migration agreement between the United Kingdom and Rwanda provides that migrants who “make dangerous or illegal journeys for example in small boats or hidden in trucks” to British territory will now have their asylum applications processed by Rwanda. If approved, these asylum seekers will be able to be settled and integrated in Rwanda, a gesture in return for which Kigali will benefit from more than $160 million in investments from the United Kingdom.
The idea is, at least according to London, to weaken the networks of smugglers and curb illegal arrivals in the United Kingdom, a subject which had contributed to fueling the debates during Brexit. But after several challenges in court, the judges of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) suspended last week the first flight supposed to ferry migrants to Rwanda, a few minutes before its departure, following appeals filed by opponents of the project.