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Britain has made payments to Rwanda under the £120 million asylum scheme, and Kigali has started spending the money despite the policy being grounded by legal challenges.

The Rwandan government said it had begun spending the cash to be ready in time for last week’s flight, which was cancelled at the last minute.

Downing Street conceded some payments had been made to Kigali, but would not set out how much or when under the “confidential” deal signed two months ago.  

The payments came despite no one-way flights for migrants who arrive in the UK through unauthorised journeys taking off. By Sam Blewett, Evening Standard


The Light for the World has called on South Sudan to ratify the United Nations (UN) Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability.

Rupert Roniger, Chief Executive Officer of Light for the World, described the situation of persons with disabilities in the country as ‘really bad’ for the vulnerable people that collaborative efforts need to avert.

Mr. Roniger, who was in South Sudan for the first time to acquaint himself with the situation of persons with disabilities, said the ratification of the convention would mitigate the challenges they face in the country.

“There are things to be improved. There are many, many children out of schools especially the vulnerable groups and children with disability, and I think we can change this together,” said Roniger.

He made the remarks at Dami Primary School in Mangateen camp for internally displaced in Juba on Friday after visiting Western Bahr el Ghazal State to assess the conditions of persons with disabilities.

So far neighbouring Kenya, Uganda and Sudan have all ratified the convention for rights of persons with disabilities.

As a human rights instrument with an explicit social development dimension, the convention reaffirms that all persons with all types of disabilities must enjoy all human rights and fundamental freedoms including education, health, and protection, among others.

According to the Light for the World, more than 1.2 billion in the world have disabilities with 80 per cent living in low and middle-income countries including South Sudan, requiring the participation of persons with disabilities and their rights to be respected in sectors.

Roniger said his organization was committed to eradicating discrimination against persons with disabilities and promoting gender equity through education, empowerment, health, climate action, and humanitarian relief. - Kitab Unango, The City Review


Rwanda remains committed to a controversial deal reached with the British government that would see asylum seekers attempting to enter the UK being sent to the East African country for resettlement, an official said Wednesday.

The comment by government deputy spokesman Alain Mukuralinda came after the European Court of Human Rights blocked a scheduled flight of asylum seekers.

The court ruled late Tuesday that the Rwandan flight could not take place until a High Court judicial review next month is completed. The case was brought forward by one of the deportees.

The ruling rendered irrelevant a previous decision by Britain's High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court -- all of which had refused to block the Rwandan flights.

Mukuralinda said the current situation of people making dangerous journeys cannot continue as it is due to untold suffering for many.

“We are not deterred by these developments. Rwanda remains fully committed to making this partnership work,” he said.

Earlier Tuesday, Mukuralinda said that given other avenues have been tried without addressing the migrants' challenge, it is better to “give chance” to the partnership with Rwanda.

The government set up hostels in the nation’s capital of Kigali, where the migrants will be hosted.

They will be supported with a new start in life. Those who want to leave Rwanda will be supported in a return to their country of origin or relocated to a third country, according to the government.

Rwanda maintains that it has been hosting migrants and other asylum seekers, facilitating them to formally relocate to places of their choice.

Nearly 1000 migrants who were stranded in Libya but resettled in Rwanda under the 2019 Memorandum of Understanding signed with the UN Refugee Agency, and the African Union is cited as an example.

The majority who relocated to Rwanda under the arrangement have been relocated to third countries, according to the government.

Formally called the Rwanda-UK Migration and Economic Development Partnership Initiative, the deal has come under criticism from rights activists and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) who said no sufficient safeguards and standards are in place to facilitate such a deal.

Priti Patel, British home secretary who was in Rwanda last April to seal the deal, defended the deportation policy Wednesday in a statement to parliament, following the court ruling.

“It is no use pretending they are fleeing persecution when they are traveling from a safe country," she said.

“Our capacity to help is not infinite and public support for the asylum system will be fatally undermined if we do not act,” said Patel. “The critics of the Rwanda Partnership have no alternative proposal to deal with uncontrolled immigration.”

The plan is aimed to end people smuggling across the English Channel, according to the British government.

The UK is offering an upfront investment of £120 million ($156.9 million) to facilitate the implementation of the agreement, according to Patel.​​​​​​​ - James Tasamba, Anadolu Agency

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