Prince Charles criticizes ‘terrible’ scheme to send refugees to Rwanda

Official London insists on deportation of migrants in accordance with all laws

British Crown Prince Charles criticized the “terrible” scheme for the deportation of illegal asylum seekers to Rwanda in the UK. Earlier, there were rumors in Britain that refugees from Ukraine trying to enter the United Kingdom illegally could also be sent to Africa.

Photo: Global Look Press

The source says that the Prince of Wales was “more than disappointed” with plans to deport refugees from Britain to an African country, writes The Guardian. Prince Charles has privately criticized the British government's policy of deporting migrants to Rwanda, calling the practice “terrible.”

The heir to the throne said this behind closed doors, speaking out against the policy, a Times and Daily Mail source told.


The application comes on the same day that the British Supreme Court dismissed a lawsuit against the deportation of asylum seekers. The first flight to send migrants to the Central African country could take off as early as Tuesday. An appeal against the ruling has begun.

The British government's deportation policy was introduced in April to discourage people trying to cross the English Channel in small boats from northern France. More than 10,000 people have arrived in the UK this year.

Under the agreement, anyone arriving outside of legal processes will be sent from the UK thousands of miles away to Rwanda. The policy has been criticized from a human rights standpoint and on Friday the UN refugee agency backed calls to stop Tuesday's deportation flight as it violates UK legal obligations.

A source said Prince Charles “said that he is more than disappointed with such a policy. “He said he found the whole approach of the government appalling. It was clear that he was unimpressed with the direction the government was taking.”

The Commonwealth heads of government are due to meet in the Rwandan capital of Kigali at the end of June. Charles is to represent the Queen at the meeting.

A spokesman for Clarence House said: “We will not comment on alleged anonymous private conversations with the Prince of Wales, short of reiterating that he remains politically neutral. Policy matters are government decisions.”

However, they did not deny in the Times commentary that Charles was opposed to this policy.

A British government spokesman said: “Our world-leading partnership with Rwanda will enable the resettlement of those making dangerous, unnecessary and illegal trips to the UK to have their grievances dealt with and their lives rebuilt. We are confident that the agreement is fully in line with all national and international laws.”

Recently, representatives of the British Ministry of the Interior made an unambiguous offer to illegal migrants seeking asylum in the United Kingdom to choose between the prospect of returning to the war zones in their home or go to Rwanda to await the decision of his fate.

Meanwhile, a few weeks ago, information was leaked to the British media, citing a high-ranking source from the UK Home Office, that people without documents who travel from Ukraine to the UK via Ireland may face the prospect of possible expulsion to Rwanda. During a hearing before a select committee of the British Parliament, a spokesman for the Home Office declined to answer repeated questions about whether Ukrainians arriving in the UK across the English Channel by boat could also be sent to the African country. Some Conservative MPs also criticized Ireland's decision to lift all restrictions on refugees fleeing the conflict, arguing that such a policy would create a “back door” to the UK, leaving the country vulnerable to potential criminal elements. It was said that the common travel area means that Ukrainians who do not pass British security checks or are waiting for visas can simply enter the United Kingdom by traveling to Northern Ireland from the Republic of Ireland. As you know, two legal routes by which Ukrainian refugees can enter the UK (the family scheme and the “Houses for Ukraine” program) have encountered problems, including in connection with the issuance of British visas. However, high-ranking British officials denied rumors that undocumented Ukrainian refugees who try to enter Britain illegally will be taken to Rwanda.


Reception by the UK of Ukrainians and sending refugees to Rwanda was called discrimination

London's plans to transport asylum seekers to Africa draw criticism

The United Nations Refugee Agency condemned Boris Johnson's plan to move UK asylum seekers to the East African country of Rwanda.


UNHCR Assistant High Commissioner Gillian Triggs condemns Boris Johnson's plan to send British asylum seekers to Rwanda as ” a symbolic gesture” that won't work in practice, writes The Guardian.

Speaking to The Guardian, Gillian Triggs, UNHCR Assistant High Commissioner, said the proposed scheme is designed to accommodate only a few hundred people a year, making it extremely costly, as well as illegal and discriminatory.

As a reminder, that the British authorities have agreed with Rwanda that they will take illegal migrants to this country who are trying to find asylum in the territory of the United Kingdom. According to the agreement signed between London and Kigali, asylum seekers will wait for the decision of the results of their requests, while on Rwandan territory.

British ministers insist the scheme will save money in the 'long term', despite a reported cost of up to £30,000 per person.

But UK government insiders predict that the expected spate of legal battles could see it cost significantly more, with some predicting it could be two years before anyone is sent to Rwanda.

Home Office sources said they were prepared for legal scrutiny and a wave of immigration tribunals over the legality of attempts to smuggle asylum seekers who arrive in the UK from the European continent after traveling across the English Channel in small boats.

There are two stages of appeal for judicial review and three for those seeking to challenge the expulsion of refugees through an immigration tribunal, calling into question Boris Johnson's stated goal of deporting people to an African country within the next six weeks.

Home Secretary Priti Patel signed a “ministerial directive” authorizing the implementation of this policy, despite the objections of the permanent secretary of her department regarding the costs.

A Home Office source said the ministerial order was issued because the long-term savings from the new policy “cannot be quantified with certainty,” but Home Office Chief Patel doesn't want the “lack of accurate modeling” held the decision.

Downing Street says the government expects thousands of asylum seekers to be resettled in Africa within the first few years of the scheme.

Gillian Triggs accuses the UK of “trying to shift its burden to a developing country” and warns that the agreement signed by Patel “will not comply with the UK's international legal obligations”, adding: “All indications are that it will not work.”

Triggs continues: “We want to end the vulnerability of people in the way of human trafficking and of course we want people not to drown, but we strongly disagree with persecuting those who need protection.

There should be more legal routes to the UK instead.” She suggested that the government's proposals seemed to appeal to anti-migrant sentiment in the UK.

“We're a politically neutral, humanitarian organization – it's really not for me to comment on politics,” says Triggs. “But we are in an environment where populist governments will appeal to their right-wing anti-migrant sentiment, and that will likely be part of it.”

Two former Conservative international development secretaries on Friday expressed their disagreement with this politics and questioned whether the government could successfully send any of the migrants to Rwanda.

So, Rory Stewart told The Guardian that there is “a very strong possibility that this is just a pie in the sky” and that the whole story is set up to distract people from the fact that Prime Minister Boris Johnson was fined by police for participating in a party. on Downing Street, which violated covid restrictions.

Stewart, who was minister under Theresa May, said that when he was in government, it was difficult enough to take the citizens of some countries back to their places of birth. “It's a completely extraordinary thing and I think the legal issues will mean they won't get to the planes,” he predicted.

Stuart, who visited Rwanda earlier this month, said it was “one of the poorest countries on Earth” with “particularly extreme living conditions for people.”

Conservative MP Andrew Mitchell also said it was impractical, immoral and incredibly expensive. “The costs are mind-boggling,” he told the BBC. “You're going to send people 6,000 miles to central Africa (…) it would actually be cheaper to put every asylum seeker at the Ritz in London.”

Gillian Triggs also warns that the UK is taking a discriminatory approach to refugees, offering an unlimited scheme for asylum seekers from Ukraine and a “draconian” system for refugees from other countries.

“At the political level, we see levels of discrimination,” says Triggs. “We are deeply concerned that the processes appear to be discriminatory. One of the fundamental principles of international law is non-discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity or nationality.”

Triggs hopes that popular British support for hosting Ukrainian refugees will encourage the government to rethink its proposals: “We have seen an outpouring of sympathy and generosity from the outside the British people themselves. As such, we consider this announcement inconsistent with British values.

We hope public outcry will help mitigate the negative aspects of this proposal with Rwanda.”

Boris Johnson was also sent a letter from 150 British refugee organizations warning that the plan would “cause great suffering” and ” will lead to more, not less, hazardous travel, leaving more people at risk of being trafficked.”

Home Secretary Tom Pursglove defended the “Rwandan initiative,” saying that it 'crush' the smugglers' business model and lower the cost of living for all those who come to the UK illegally, which he says amount to £5 million a day.

Pursglove added: “But in the long run if we get the situation under control, it should help us save money. We spend £5 million a day putting people who cross the border into hotels. This is unsustainable and unacceptable and we need to get it under control.”


A 26-year manhunt for Rwandan genocide fugitive ends

A 26-year manhunt for Rwandan genocide fugitive ends

Halima Gikandi

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Dimitrie Sissi Mukanyiligira, a Rwandan genocide survivor looks at a laptop computer with the webpage showing the pictures of the Rwandan genocide fugitive Félicien Kabuga, as she takes part in a Reuters interview in Kigali, Rwanda, May 18, 2020. 


Jean Bizimana/Reuters


The 26-year hunt for Félicien Kabuga —  spanning two continents and lasting more than two decades — has finally come to an end. On Saturday morning, French police arrested the now 84-year-old Rwandan genocide fugitive from his apartment in a suburb of Paris.

“Félicien Kabuga has always been one of the most wanted fugitives. … He has always been considered as being one of the masterminds in relation to the genocide.”

 Serge Brammertz,  chief prosecutor, United Nations International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals

“Félicien Kabuga has always been one of the most wanted fugitives,” Serge Brammertz, chief prosecutor of the United Nations International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (IRMCT), told The World in an interview Monday. “He has always been considered as being one of the masterminds in relation to the genocide.” 

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In 1997, Kabuga was indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) on seven counts of genocide and related crimes. His alleged role includes financing the 1994 genocide, arming militia groups, and heading a hate-filled radio station, Radio Télévision Mille Collines.

Genocide survivors such as Naphtal Ahishakiye, 46, still remember the words of hate on the radio. “Tutsi is the biggest enemy of Rwanda. Of Hutu. So the radio considered Tutsi as the animals, cockroaches,” he recalled hearing.

Ahishakiye is the executive secretary of Ibuka, a group for genocide survivors. Growing up as a Tutsi, he remembers the day-to-day discrimination by majority Hutu elites beginning long before 1994. 

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After spending 100 days hiding at neighbors’ homes and in the forest, only he and two sisters survived — the rest of his family died, including his parents, brothers and cousins, he said. At least 800,000 people are estimated to have been killed, the majority of them Tutsis.

While the ICTR officially concluded in 2015, ongoing cases were turned over to the IRMCT — now led by Brammertz — and continued to pursue Kabuga. 

“We can never give up looking for those fugitives,” said Brammertz, speaking about the international community. 

Previous attempts to capture Kabuga have failed, most notably a plot by the FBI and Kenyan authorities in 2003, which resulted in the death of an informant in Nairobi. The US has had a $5 million bounty on the fugitive. 

Two years ago, Brammertz established a new task force to track down Kabuga in partnership with European authorities. 

“We start[ed] where we were sure he was seen for the last time, which was in 2007 when he underwent surgery in Germany,” Brammertz said. He and his team began tracing Kabuga’s steps through Belgium and Luxembourg, identifying people who were likely to have helped him hide.

“Based on the analysis, phone profiles, financial information, we concluded two months ago that it was very likely that it was in a specific area in Paris,” Brammertz said.

“We are happy for France to facilitate this process to arrest Kabuga.  … In previous years, France didn’t play a role in this kind of justice.”

Naphtal Ahishakiye, executive secretary, Ibuka group for genocide survivors, Rwanda

“We are happy for France to facilitate this process to arrest Kabuga,” Ahishakiye said. “In previous years, France didn’t play a role in this kind of justice.”

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Indeed, the relationship between Rwanda and France has been strained by accusations that France was complicit in the genocide, an accusation it has historically denied. Last year, French President Emmanuel Macron directed a panel of experts to investigate France’s role in the genocide.

According to Brammertz, Kabuga will be transferred to the Mechanism Tribunal in Arusha, Tanzania, or The Hague, depending on travel restrictions that might exist due to the coronavirus pandemic.

When it comes to an actual trial, “it’s more likely that it takes closer to a year,” Brammertz said.