The Bishop of Chelmsford asked a question about the government’s immigration agreement with Rwanda on 25th April 2022:
The Lord Bishop of Chelmsford: My Lords, Amnesty International’s latest annual report sets out that, in Rwanda:
“Violations of the rights to a fair trial, freedom of expression and privacy continued, alongside enforced disappearances, allegations of torture and excessive use of force.”
This came following the UK Government’s own concerns, raised in July 2021 at the UN Human Rights Council. In the context of these human rights concerns in respect of Rwanda, it is deeply worrying that the UK Government have now decided that it is a safe third country to which they can offshore asylum seekers. Can the Minister please set out how these conflicting descriptions of Rwanda’s human rights situation have been reconciled?
Baroness Williams of Trafford (Con): Obviously, Rwanda has come on a very upward, positive trajectory since the genocide way back when. It is one of the fastest-growing economies in the world; it has a great equality record at the moment—certainly in its parliament —and it houses 130,000 asylum seekers. It also engages with both the EU and the UNHCR in placing asylum seekers.