The Rwandan government has stated that the UK will not receive a refund on the £270 million paid for the Conservative Party’s asylum scheme, even after the new Labour government decided to cancel the program. Dr. Doris Uwicyeza Picard, representing the Rwandan Ministry of Justice, emphasized that Rwanda has fulfilled its part of the agreement by preparing to accommodate thousands of migrants, addressing what was essentially a UK issue.

Despite the UK’s £270 million payment under the Migration and Economic Development Partnership, no migrants have been forcibly deported to Rwanda. Only four failed asylum seekers have voluntarily relocated after being offered £3,000. While British ministers have not formally provided the required three months’ notice to terminate the five-year agreement, Dr. Uwicyeza Picard acknowledged Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer’s decision to end the deal following his election victory.

According to a clause in the agreement, the UK can withdraw from additional payments of £50 million in 2025 and 2026 without penalties. However, the government is likely to continue supporting the four asylum seekers who moved to Kigali. Dr. Uwicyeza Picard highlighted Rwanda’s commitment to the partnership and the resources invested to accommodate migrants, expressing hope that the good faith between the countries would persist despite changes in UK government policies.

She also addressed criticisms and misconceptions about the deal, pointing out that Rwanda’s involvement was to assist with a UK-initiated solution and not a reflection on Rwanda itself. Dr. Uwicyeza Picard criticized the UN refugee agency for its inconsistent stance on Rwanda’s safety for different migrant groups.

The termination of the agreement complicates matters for a group of Sri Lankan Tamil asylum seekers transferred to Rwanda from the British territory of Diego Garcia, who feel unsafe and isolated. The UK’s Labour government plans to redirect the £75 million saved from scrapping the Rwanda scheme to establish a new border security command aimed at combating people-smuggling gangs.

Labour also intends to reintegrate more than 90,000 migrants earmarked for deportation into the UK’s asylum system, allowing them to apply for leave to remain. Additionally, the government faces potential compensation claims from over 200 migrants who were detained for planned flights to Rwanda without a realistic prospect of removal.

Labour criticizes the previous government’s expenditure on the scheme, arguing that the funds could have been better used to enhance UK border security. They pledge to create a Border Security Command to tackle smuggling operations more effectively.

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