By Melanie Nathan, June 20, 2021
After a UK court cleared the first plane taking individuals claiming asylum to Rwanda (Reuters), the European Court of Human Rights ordered a pause to the deportation of one of seven individuals scheduled for the flight.
The UK government has vowed to continue with the plan, despite the ruling. (NPR).
UNHCR chief Filippo Grandi reiterated his opposition to the UK’s scheme to redirect asylum-seekers to Rwanda. (UN News).
Criticism of the plan, and of Rwanda’s human rights record, has received a backlash this week from Rwanda’s Anglican Archbishop, responding to criticism of the plan by British religious leaders, and from Trevor Noah, whose comments mocking the “narrative that living in Africa is a punishment” have been touted by the Rwandan government. (BBC) (Daily Mail) (Trevor Noah Comments via YouTube). RWANDA AND HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES:
This week, a Rwandan court ordered Diane Rwigara released under “caution” as she awaits trial on politically motivated charges. Rwigara opposed President Kagame for election in August 2017. (VOA).
Human Rights Watch reported that a Rwandan YouTube commentator presently in detention has “accused prison authorities of beating him and other jailed critics.” (HRW).
And the BBC reports that Rwandan sports journalist Prudence Nsengumukiza has sought asylum in Belgium out of fear he will be “hunted down by agents of President Kagame’s government.” (BBC).
As the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) gets underway today in Kigali, the Rwandan capital - a prominent Rwandan YouTube commentator has accused prison authorities of beating him and other jailed critics... In a statement at a court hearing in Kigali, Aimable Karasira, held in Nyarugenge prison, also said prison authorities were intercepting and withholding privileged communications from his lawyer.
As CHOGM gets underway today in Kigali, the Rwandan capital has been spruced up to look its best… at cost to the vulnerable and human rights. The poorest and most vulnerable have been swept off the streets to improve the country’s image, and Rwanda’s government jails and tortures perceived opponents, including journalists, to try to keep criticism to a minimum. Will any foreign GUEST/attendees at CHOGM speak up about the country’s putrid human rights record? The UK is in bed with Rwanda over an asylum policy deal - so they will probably stay mum on this issue!!! The UK has been trying to institute a shameful policy to send its asylum seekers to Rwanda, despite successful legal challenges blocking the first attempted flight. #CHOGM2022