Amnesty: Commonwealth Leaders Must Oppose ‘UK’s Racist Asylum Seeker Deal’

ADDIS ABABA –  Commonwealth leaders must take a firm and clear stand against the UK’s racist and disgraceful asylum seeker deal with Rwanda, Amnesty International said today.

The UK and Rwanda signed a Memorandum of Understanding on 14 April 2022 that agrees on a system to relocate asylum seekers who are not being considered by the UK to Rwanda. A deal criticized by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees as discriminatory.

“By trying to dump asylum seekers in Rwanda, the UK government is shirking its international responsibility under the Refugee Convention to protect people in need of asylum,” said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Director for East and Southern Africa. 

Anesty’s latest criticism comes ahead of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) scheduled to take place in Kigali between 20 – 25 June 2022.

Muchena called the deal a “misguided, cruel and racist policy that shifts its responsibility towards refugees and asylum seekers to Rwanda.”

The commonwealth leaders “must take a firm and clear stance to force” the UK government to rescind it, he said. 

“Member states need to seize the opportunity in Kigali to denounce this inhumane arrangement and pressure the UK and Rwanda to end the deal. It seriously threatens to undermine the international mechanism for the protection of asylum seekers,” said Amnesty’s regional director.

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