Rwanda accuses UNHCR of fabricating lies

Rwanda accuses UNHCR of fabricating lies

Rwanda has slammed the UNHCR of lying and fabricating evidence to undermine the country’s refugee welcoming courts in order to mislead UK courts in the ongoing legal battles around the UK-Rwanda Migration and Economic Development Partnership.

The United Nations’ refugee agency earlier this week claimed that it has new evidence that Rwanda has endangered asylum seekers, to deem the country unsafe for the UK to transfer asylum seekers there for processing.

Rwanda however says the UNHCR is lying to the UK courts yet it still transfers refugees to Rwanda.

A statement issued by the Office of the Government Spokesperson, Yolande Makolo, on Tuesday night, says the UN agency’s claims are a betrayal of its own actions, urging the UNHCR to instead focus on promoting refugee rights rather than undermine Rwanda’s efforts.

“UNHCR is lying. The organisation seems intent on presenting fabricated allegations to U.K. courts about Rwanda’s treatment of asylum seekers, while still partnering with us to bring African migrants from Libya to safety in Rwanda through the Emergency Transit Mechanism,”

“Our understanding is that one of the cases that the UNHCR has referred to relates to a man who was denied asylum in the Seychelles. Following this judgement, the UNHCR in South Africa unilaterally decided he should be given asylum in Rwanda. The Government of Rwanda was neither consulted prior to this decision, nor have we had any contact from the UNHCR about this case since,” reads the statement in part.

Rwanda slammed all the claims by UNHCR, including on Burundian refugees, which are aimed at derailing the UK-Rwanda partnership, even after the UK Parliament passed a law declaring the country is safe. Rwanda has been hosting hundreds o thousands of Burundian and Congolese refugees over the past decade or so.

“This is just one in a series of wholly unserious allegations that have been levelled against us by the UNHCR. Another absurd claim was that Rwanda was denying asylum to a group of Burundians – who in fact did not ever claim asylum but instead were found to have breached Rwandan immigration laws. This is made all the more ridiculous when you consider the fact that Rwanda currently provides refuge to tens of thousands of our Burundian neighbours who have sought safety in our country,”

“Other false allegations relate to people with legal status in other countries arriving in Rwanda, neither meeting our entry requirements for visitors nor claiming asylum, or people leaving Rwanda entirely of their own volition. Again, these are not examples of refoulement. As we have said time and again, Rwanda does not refoule asylum seekers,” the statement adds.

“The UNHCR seems intent on undermining the safety of Rwanda within U.K. courts, a challenge which is even more unbelievable given that Rwanda has entered into binding agreements with the U.K. to process migrants and asylum seekers, building upon our already proven record of providing safety to those fleeing conflict,” it adds.

Rwanda says it remains committed to upholding all of our obligations as signatories to the refugee convention. We will continue to provide safety and opportunity to those fleeing conflict, as we have done for the last thirty years.

THE RWANDA SUN

Diane MURERWA

Diane MURERWA

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