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These are the first pictures inside a £19-a-night tourist hotel in Rwanda that is expected to host Channel migrants flown 4,000 miles from the UK in an Australia-style plan to halt illegal crossings.  

Hope House, a hostel in Nyabugogo, the Gasabo district of Kigali, is set to be the first place asylum seekers will stay for around three months while their claims are being processed before they are moved elsewhere. 

They will be allowed to move around freely and leave the property as they wish, which is described on Tripadvisor as offering WiFi and good views of the surrounding hills.  

People who are found to have a legitimate claim to asylum will be allowed to stay in Rwanda for at least five years with a training and support package. Those who fail will be deported back to their home country. 

Rwanda will receive an initial payment of £120million, and its president, Paul Kagame, is understood to be keen on the arrangement because his country is in desperate need of young male workers. 

Millions of young men have left Africa in recent decades for Europe and the US.

A view of facilities at Hope House, a hostel in Nyabugogo, the Gasabo district of the capital city Kigali, in Rwanda

A view of facilities at Hope House, a hostel in Nyabugogo, the Gasabo district of the capital city Kigali, in Rwanda

A view of facilities at Hope House, a hostel in Nyabugogo, the Gasabo district of the capital city Kigali, in Rwanda

Plans to send asylum seekers to Rwanda from the UK are anticipated to initially see them taken to the former tourist hostel

Plans to send asylum seekers to Rwanda from the UK are anticipated to initially see them taken to the former tourist hostel

Plans to send asylum seekers to Rwanda from the UK are anticipated to initially see them taken to the former tourist hostel 

Home Secretary Priti Patel made a private visit to Hope Hostel today to see an example of what accommodation may be on offer. The property is still privately owned by the Rwandan government is currently in negotiations to lease it. 

It is understood to be Ms Patel’s first visit to Rwanda since the deal was thrashed out, after being briefed by Home Office and Foreign Office officials who have been researching the plan.

The complex has 50 rooms at present and can accommodate around 100 people with up to two people per room and sharing communal bathrooms.

But there are plans to expand the facility by building more accommodation blocks, eventually seeing it offer 150 rooms and be able to sleep up to 300 people.

Asylum seekers are expected to be provided meals three times a day to eat in a communal dining room, with some kitchen facilities also available for those with special dietary requirements.

The government’s plan has already faced a massive backlash, with claims that it is both cruel and expensive.

Dr Peter William Walsh, Senior Researcher at the Migration Observatory in Oxford, said it would face ‘all kinds of logistical challenges’.

He told MailOnline: ‘Australia’s offshore experiment was beset by all kinds of problems, with people unable to access healthcare, as well as high rates of suicide and abuse. Then there’s the financial side to it. 

‘The Australian system was thought to be 800 times more expensive to house them offshore than in local centres. It cost one billion Australian dollars (£567m) to house fewer than 300 people.

‘There are so many questions about this plan and a lot of scepticism about whether it will actually come to pass given all the challenges it will face.’ 

Rwanda is best known in the west for a 1994 ethnic genocide that left up to 800,000 Tutsi people dead and it still has a mixed human rights records.

Amnesty International says there are still concerns over ‘enforced disappearances, allegations of torture and excessive use of force’.

Earlier this month the Refugee Minister Lord Harrington said there was ‘no possibility’ of migrants being sent there. But Boris Johnson today branded it ‘dynamic’ and one of the safest countries in the world. 

Privately owned, the East African nation's government is understood to be in negotiations to lease the property so asylum seekers sent from the UK can stay there temporarily while their claims are processed

Privately owned, the East African nation's government is understood to be in negotiations to lease the property so asylum seekers sent from the UK can stay there temporarily while their claims are processed

Privately owned, the East African nation’s government is understood to be in negotiations to lease the property so asylum seekers sent from the UK can stay there temporarily while their claims are processed

The complex has 50 rooms at present and can accommodate around 100 people with up to two people per room and sharing communal bathrooms

The complex has 50 rooms at present and can accommodate around 100 people with up to two people per room and sharing communal bathrooms

The complex has 50 rooms at present and can accommodate around 100 people with up to two people per room and sharing communal bathrooms

There are plans to expand the facility by building more accommodation blocks, eventually seeing it offer 150 rooms and be able to sleep up to 300 people

There are plans to expand the facility by building more accommodation blocks, eventually seeing it offer 150 rooms and be able to sleep up to 300 people

There are plans to expand the facility by building more accommodation blocks, eventually seeing it offer 150 rooms and be able to sleep up to 300 people

Welcome to Rwanda: Regime in genocide-haunted country accused of murder, kidnapping and torture

Rwanda is a landlocked country in central and eastern Africa best known in the west for the horrific 1994 ethnic genocide. 

In just 100 days of a brutal civil war, up to 800,000 Tutsi people were murdered, with many of them hacked to death in their homes by armed militias of the Hutu majority.

Up to half a million women were raped as violence gripped the country, often with neighbours turning on neighbours. 

The carnage provoked horror and condemnation around the world, and the Tutsi-led Rwandan Patriotic Front later won the war and forced those responsible for the murder into exile.

But while the country is more stable today, it still has a highly questionable human rights record.

Earlier this week the US State Department produced its annual analysis of the country.

It reported ‘significant human rights issues’ with the Government, including:

  • unlawful or arbitrary killings
  • forced disappearance 
  • torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment 
  • harsh and life-threatening prison conditions
  • arbitrary detention
  • political prisoners or detainees
  •  arbitrary or unlawful interference with privacy 

It added: ‘The government took some steps to prosecute or punish officials who committed abuses and acts of corruption, including within the security services, but impunity involving civilian officials and some members of the state security forces was a problem.’

In a separate report, Amnesty International reports similar findings.

While noting the Kagame government had acted to help women prosecuted for having abortions, and to prosecute those accused of genocide, it added: ‘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.’

 

 

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It is understood Channel migrants will be processed in the UK and officials will decide whether they are a genuine asylum seeker.

If they are deemed to be economic migrants, they will be sent to Rwanda, where schemes will be put in place to help them build a new life.

It is thought that in other cases, all asylum processing will take place after the claimant arrives in Rwanda. Britain will pay the costs of their resettlement. 

A source told the Telegraph that the British Army would be involved to prevent ‘battles on the quayside’, adding: ‘They will drive you to the airport and send you straight to Rwanda’.

The Refugee Council charity was among those to urge an immediate rethink of the plan, with chief executive Enver Solomon saying it would not work and would cost the taxpayer around £1.4billion a year as part of the while asylum system.

The United Nations refugee agency also expressed concern over the ‘shifting rather than the sharing of responsibilities’.

Labour and Mr Johnson’s Tory critics claimed it was an expensive move to switch attention away from the Partygate row which continues to embarrass No10. 

At a press conference today, Priti Patel said the agreement with Rwanda ‘fully complies with all international and national law’.

She said the deal is ‘in keeping with our vision for global Britain that harnesses the potential for new relationships, and stimulates investments and jobs in partner countries’.

Home Secretary added: ‘Working together, the United Kingdom and Rwanda will help make the immigration system fairer, ensure that people are safe and enjoy new opportunities to flourish.’

She said people who enter the UK ‘illegally will be considered for relocation’ to have their claims decided, adding: ‘Those who are resettled will be given the support, including up to five years of training with the help of integration, accommodation, healthcare, so that they can resettle and thrive.’

She added that the UK is making a ‘substantial investment in the economic development of Rwanda’ which aims to develop the country’s economy and support its people. 

‘This is very much, number one, a partnership,’ she said. ‘Clearly we engage in dialogue and we have been for over nine months now.

‘But Rwanda has a very unique history in terms of refugees and resettlement, resettlement in particular. First and foremost, Rwanda is a safe and secure country with the respect for the rule of law, and clearly a range of institutions that have evolved and developed over time.

‘If I may say so, Rwanda has been very forward leaning, and has been very dynamic in the conversations that we have had as well around, yes, economic growth and the partnership, but respect for people and giving them the ability to find new opportunities, but effectively restart their lives, rebuild careers, potentially, and settle here successfully.’ 

When will the first migrants be flown to Rwanda? Will they return to UK if asylum is granted? YOUR questions answered as PM reveals Australia-style plan for Channel refugees

Boris Johnson‘s plan to fly many asylum seekers 4,000 miles to Rwanda sparks an obvious question – how will it all work?

Despite drawing obvious comparisons to Australia’s model of ‘offshoring’ migrants on Pacific island detention centres, the initiative has few precedents and raises a raft of logistical and ethical challenges.

With 28,526 Channel migrant crossings last year, the scale of the problem ministers are trying to tackle is obvious. 

But their solution has been widely condemned by opposition politicians and human rights groups, who have branded it ‘cruel’, ‘impractical’ and ruinously expensive. 

The Prime Minister himself has accepted it is likely to face legal challenges, although he insists it is lawful under both UK and international law. 

As the government gears up for a huge battle to see the plan through Parliament and the courts, we answer your key questions about how it could work and what will happen to the migrants involved. 

Who could be sent to Rwanda?

Anyone who comes to the UK illegally – including in small boats or refrigerated lorries – will be considered for relocation to Rwanda. 

There will be an assessment stage, where the strength of each individual’s asylum claim will be taken into account, as well as the way they arrived in the country. 

The exact nature of this process has not yet been announced but the military won’t be involved. 

Anyone sent to Rwanda on flights paid for by UK taxpayers will have their claims processed there rather than in the UK. Others will be taken to a new immigration centre at a former RAF base at Linton-on-Ouse, near York. 

Simon Hart, the Secretary of State for Wales, said the plan was focused on single young men, as they are considered to be more likely to be economic migrants. But a government source said anyone was eligible, regardless of sex.  

What will happen once they arrive?

Migrants are subject to Rwandan immigration rules as soon as they land. 

Anyone the authorities decide to deport – such as people who commit a crime – can be sent to the first ‘safe’ country or their country of origin. 

Asylum seekers will stay in a hostel while their claims are processed. This is expected to take around three months. They will be allowed to move around freely and leave the property as they wish. 

Today, Priti Patel appeared to suggest the government would share responsibility for the wellbeing of migrants for the duration of their asylum claim. 

‘This is a partnership between our two countries,’ she said when asked if the UK will be responsible for their welfare and the conditions they live in.   

People who are found to have a legitimate claim to asylum will be allowed to stay in Rwanda for at least five years with a training and support package. Those who fail will be deported back to their home country.     

When will the first migrants be flown there? 

The first people to be relocated to Rwanda will receive formal notifications within weeks, with the first flights expected to take place in the coming months.

However, Boris Johnson today accepted that legal challenges would mean the system ‘will not take effect overnight’.  

He said the agreement is ‘uncapped’ and Rwanda will have the ‘capacity to resettle tens of thousands of people in the years ahead’, including those who have arrived ‘illegally’ since the start of the year. 

What is the government’s reasoning?

The plan is designed to deter economic migrants by showing that even if they reach British shores, they will not be allowed to remain here.

If the scheme works as expected, thousands of asylum seekers will end up further away from Britain than where they started.

It will also undermine the business models of people traffickers, who have been driving migrants to sea in increasingly unsafe conditions.

Other aspects of the plan are thought to include a new reception centre for asylum seekers in North Yorkshire, the Ministry of Defence being put in charge of policing the Channel and legal reforms to prevent failed asylum seekers mounting repeated appeals.   

Boris Johnson outlining the scheme in Kent today. Alongside the Rwanda scheme he has also ordered the Navy to police the English Channel and announced legal reforms

Boris Johnson outlining the scheme in Kent today. Alongside the Rwanda scheme he has also ordered the Navy to police the English Channel and announced legal reforms

Boris Johnson outlining the scheme in Kent today. Alongside the Rwanda scheme he has also ordered the Navy to police the English Channel and announced legal reforms 

What are critics saying?

The plan has already faced a massive backlash, with claims that it is both cruel and expensive. Rwanda is best known in the west for a 1994 ethnic genocide that left up to 800,000 Tutsi people dead and it still has a mixed human rights records.

Amnesty International says there are still concerns over ‘enforced disappearances, allegations of torture and excessive use of force’. 

Earlier this month the Refugee Minister Lord Harrington said there was ‘no possibility’ of migrants being sent there.

Labour and Mr Johnson’s Tory critics claimed it was an expensive move to switch attention away from the Partygate row which continues to embarrass No10, although Mr Patel said the plans had been in the pipeline ‘for months’.

Opposition leader Keir Starmer branded the PM ‘desperate’ and said the plans were ‘unworkable, extortionate and will cost the taxpayer billions of pounds’.

And former defence minister Tobias Ellwood told Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘He’s trying to make an announcement today on migration, and all of this is a massive distraction (from Partygate). It’s not going away.’ 

Will it end up in court?

Almost certainly.

Mr Johnson has accepted the plan is likely to face legal challenges, although he insisted it was ‘fully compliant with our international legal obligations’. 

Ministers believe it is legal under UK and EU laws, but human rights lawyers are expected to be already preparing cases. 

What’s it for Rwanda?

The country’s government will receive £120 million as part of the trial scheme, with the potential for increasing these payments if it proves a success. 

Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame is understood to be keen on the arrangement because his country is in desperate need of young male workers. 

Millions of young men have left Africa in recent decades for Europe and the US.    

How much could it cost?

Enver Solomon, chief executive of the Refugee Council, predicted the plan would cost £1.4 billion a year.

But the Home Office questioned the figure, with a source saying it was ‘ludicrous to suggest costs would be more than the current system’.

Think tank the Institute for Public Policy Research pointed out that Australia’s scheme has cost taxpayers around £5.2 billion since 2013. 

Conservative former minister Andrew Mitchell said housing asylum seekers at the Ritz hotel would be cheaper, putting the figure at £2million per person, per year. 

Is there any precedent for asylum seekers being sent to Rwanda?

Yes, a similar migration deal between Rwanda and Israel between 2014 and 2017 saw thousands of African asylum seekers housed in guarded hotels.  

Nearly all the migrants left the country almost immediately, with many attempting to return to Europe via human smuggling routes, which are notorious for human rights abuses.    

Source: Daily Mail

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