Failed Asylum Seekers Facing Deportation to Rwanda
20 May 2024
Spread the love

(Analysis) The UK government has announced plans to deport failed asylum seekers to Rwanda, following unsuccessful attempts to manage small boat crossings due to legal challenges. Many of these individuals have reportedly fled to other regions, including Ireland, prompting the Westminster government to shift focus towards those without the financial means or support to legally contest their deportation.

This policy has stirred considerable anxiety among Zimbabwean asylum seekers, fearing potential repercussions in Rwanda. Our investigation involved discussions with over 60 Zimbabwean asylum seekers, revealing a unanimous concern for their safety. Among them, Petty Ziramba from Belfast, who has contributed significantly to the British community by providing services during the COVID-19 pandemic and currently cares for the elderly, expressed her fears of extradition given the existing treaties between Rwanda and Zimbabwe.

James Claverly

“The risk of being sent to Rwanda is dangerous because of the extradition treaties. Many Rwandese in Zimbabwe and neighboring countries have been easily deported,” said Ziramba.

Rwanda Deportations

Furthermore, Evelyn Chigaro, a member of the Restoration of Human Rights (ROHR), highlighted the dangers due to bilateral exchange programs between Zimbabwe and Rwanda. She emphasized that such arrangements increase the risks for Zimbabweans who are already targets in their homeland and could face severe consequences if extradited.

“The exchange programs between the two countries lead to the risk of many Zimbabweans who are wanted and will face the police, army, and CIO operating in Rwanda today through such programmes,” Chigaro noted.

Simbarashe Jingo shared similar concerns, referencing a recent incident where a Rwandan man’s death underscored systemic failures in both countries. He criticized the lack of response from Zimbabwean authorities, which is unusual given their track record of addressing public incidents.

“The recent killing of a Rwandan man clearly shows a broken-down system in the countries. The Zimbabwean police have not even put a statement to the case as they normally do with all the killings or burglaries,” Jingo stated, adding, “We are smelling a dead rat in this case.”

In addition, we spoke with Mr. Patson Muzuwa, who previously addressed similar issues during the UNMIK mission in Kosovo. He drew parallels between the situation in Kosovo and the proposed deportations to Rwanda, describing the move as a disregard for the safety and rights of individuals who, while in the UK, enjoyed freedoms to demonstrate and associate—freedoms now jeopardized by the threat of extradition under Rwanda’s stringent laws.

“The timing to return asylum seekers to Rwanda is an insult to people who have their life in danger through their refugee sur place activities,” Muzuwa pointed out.

This series of responses paints a bleak picture for failed asylum seekers potentially facing deportation to Rwanda, a country where they may not only lose their newfound liberties but also face serious personal danger.