Rwanda Immigration Scheme: UK Ministers Partially Lose Secrecy Bid

    Photo: BBC

    The Facts

    • On Wed., the High Court ruled that the UK government can redact only four out of ten comments by a Foreign Office (FCDO) official about alleged human rights abuses and the political situation in Rwanda. The government sought to keep them confidential due to their sensitivity and potential to harm UK-Rwanda relations.

    • The comments were made weeks before the government implemented a scheme to send asylum seekers to Rwanda, in an Apr. 26 email, as well as in a draft of the Rwanda "Country Policy and Information Note." Both were written by an FCDO African affairs expert, who alleged that Rwanda uses arbitrary detention, torture, and killings to enforce control.

    The Spin

    Establishment-critical narrative

    The Rwanda plan isn't only an ineffective policy that violates the UN Refugee Convention (1951), it's also a disgrace to Britain and its role on the global stage. The UK can't dodge its responsibilities by offshoring and outsourcing its asylum system – especially not to Rwanda, which has a known track record of human rights violations. A solution can only be reached when root causes are tackled and a fair, humane asylum system is created.

    Pro-establishment narrative

    The global asylum system is broken and those criticizing the Rwanda plan have failed to offer any alternative. The African country is safe, secure, and known to help refugees without discrimination – besides, case-by-case analyses will prevent potentially inappropriate transfers, complying with domestic and international norms. This is the best way to prevent people smugglers profiteering from abuse.

    Nerd narrative

    There's a 6% chance that the number of forcibly displaced people in Rwanda will double in 2022, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

    Public figures in this story

    Establishment split



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