UK-Rwanda Asylum Partnership
On 14 April 2022, the UK Government announced a new Migration and Economic Development Partnership (MEDP) with the Government of Rwanda, later re-named as the UK-Rwanda Asylum Partnership. The two governments subsequently signed the UK-Rwanda Asylum Partnership Treaty on 5 December 2023, and the UK Government published the Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill on 6 December 2023.
Under this arrangement, asylum-seekers in the UK would be transferred to Rwanda before their claims for asylum are heard. It would then be the responsibility of the national Rwandan asylum system to consider their need for international protection. People transferred to Rwanda, even if granted refugee or humanitarian status, would remain in Rwanda.
UNHCR believes that the UK-Rwanda arrangement will shift responsibility for making asylum decisions and protecting refugees. Externalizing asylum obligations poses serious risks for the safety of refugees. The arrangement proposes an asylum model that undermines global solidarity and the established international refugee protection system. It is not compatible with international refugee law.
Below we have listed the observations and public statements UNHCR has released with regard to the UK-Rwanda asylum partnership since the initial announcement of the MEDP on 14 April 2022.