UK signs new migration treaty with Rwanda

December 06, 2023

KIGALI: Britain and Rwanda signed a new treaty on Tuesday in a bid to revive a controversial proposal by London to transfer migrants to the East African country.

The agreement was signed by Rwandan Foreign Minister Vincent Biruta and British Interior Minister James Cleverly, who traveled to Kigali to salvage London´s stalled bid to send migrants to Rwanda after the UK Supreme Court blocked an earlier arrangement as unlawful.

The judges sided with a lower court decision that the policy was incompatible with Britain´s international obligations because Kigali could forcibly return migrants to places where they could face persecution.

Britain´' Home Secretary James Cleverly (L) and Rwanda's Foreign Minister Vincent Biruta attend a joint press conference after signing a new treaty, in Kigali on December 5, 2023.—AFP

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak had vowed to persevere with the contentious project by securing the new treaty, vowing to “address concerns” raised in the Supreme Court´s ruling last month.

“There is a lot of desire to continue to improve the process. The UK and Rwanda are working on this because it is important,” Cleverly said at a joint press briefing in Kigali. “Rwanda is very committed to this partnership and that is why we worked with the UK government to address the concerns raised by the Supreme Court”, Biruta added. “We do not have plans to withdraw from this partnership.”