President Kagame assures security for migrants from the UK

By Esther Muhozi
On 22 May 2024 at 09:37

President of the Republic of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, has dismissed concerns regarding whether Rwanda will provide adequate security for migrants coming from the United Kingdom as baseless.

In a discussion organized by the Global Security Forum on May 21, 2024, President Kagame stated that the international community recognizes Rwanda’s safety, having successfully maintained it for Rwandans.

He said, "The UK knows it, Europe knows it, America knows it, Rwanda is safe. Being safe does not depend on whether someone likes us or not. It is something we have determined for ourselves and provided for our country."

The President continued, "What is lacking is the level of development our people have reached where we want, and it also concerns other people coming here; whether they are migrants or others, wherever they come from and whether they are treated as they wish or as we wish."

President Kagame explained that since 2018, Rwanda has been temporarily hosting migrants, highlighting that the UK based its request for cooperation on how Rwanda has managed this issue.

"Since 2018, hundreds of thousands of people have been brought by planes from Libya. I think that’s what the UK saw, that there is a good way to solve this problem that has been a burden for them and for all of Europe. They asked us if we could expand this program to address the problem they have, and we agreed because we already had a good relationship and development cooperation," he stated.

The President elaborated that Rwanda and the UK have discussed how to implement this program, with Rwanda expressing the challenge of capacity to care for them, which led to the addition of a provision to support Rwanda in its development.

He added, "The debates that have arisen in the UK, Europe, or elsewhere, whether Rwanda is safe, are baseless for us. We know who we are, we know what we have, we know we can provide security and governance to everyone, what we lack are the means to help these people progress. When people debate whether Rwanda is safe, it becomes politicized."

The program between Rwanda and the UK is based on an agreement signed by both countries’ governments in April 2022, updated in December 2023. It is expected that, barring any changes, the first group of migrants will be sent to Kigali in July 2024.

Rwanda and the United Kingdom renewed these agreements in December 2023.