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Rwanda’s President Defends Refugee Policy at Global Forum

Rwanda's President Defends Refugee Policy

In a virtual address to the Global Security Forum in Qatar on Wednesday, Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame defended his country’s track record in assisting refugees. Rwanda’s President defends refugee policy amid criticism of a new British law that will see Kigali receiving illegal asylum seekers deported from the United Kingdom in exchange for payment.

Kagame emphasized that hosting migrants is not a new issue for Rwanda, noting that the country has been involved in such efforts long before its recent deal with the UK. “Even today, we are processing migrants who are stuck in Libya, trying to cross into Europe, or dying in the Mediterranean,” he said.

He highlighted that Rwanda has been providing a “safe haven” for migrants or helping them transit to other destinations since 2018. “At that time, we had no agreement with anyone, so there wasn’t even anyone going to pay for it except ourselves,” Kagame explained. He mentioned that international institutions and the UNHCR were involved in these efforts.

“Since 2018, hundreds and thousands of people have been brought by air from Libya to Rwanda. This is what the UK, I think, noticed. That there was another way of dealing with this problem,” he added.

Britain’s parliament passed the new legislation in April, allowing for the deportation of some migrants to Rwanda. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s controversial plan aims to deter risky English Channel crossings by people desperate to reach the UK. Human rights activists and migrants’ groups have pledged to continue opposing the policy, arguing that it is unethical and inhumane.

The Global Security Forum, where delegates discussed issues such as supply chain management, energy security, high-end semiconductors, and food security, concluded on Wednesday.

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