Rwanda says ‘not deterred’ after UK asylum seeker flight cancelled

Protesters hold up placards as they march towards the Brook House immigration removal centre beside Gatwick Airport, south of London on June 12, 2022, to demonstrate against the UK government’s intention to deport asylum-seekers to Rwanda. – UK campaigners get their last chance in court on Monday to stop the government’s first flight of asylum-seekers to Rwanda. The government is vowing to push ahead with the first planeload of 31 claimants, on a chartered flight Tuesday from an undisclosed airport in Britain. (Photo by Niklas HALLE’N / AFP)

Kigali, Rwanda | AFP | Wednesday 6/15/2022 – 07:56 UTC+3

The Rwandan government said on Wednesday it was still committed to taking in asylum seekers sent by the UK under a controversial deal after a first flight was cancelled following a European court ruling.

“We are not deterred by these developments. Rwanda remains fully committed to making this partnership work,” government spokeswoman Yolande Makolo told AFP.

“The current situation of people making dangerous journeys cannot continue as it is causing untold suffering to so many,” she said.

“Rwanda stands ready to receive the migrants when they do arrive and offer them safety and opportunity in our country.”

A first flight was due to take off from Britain for the East African country late Tuesday but was cancelled after a last-minute ruling by the European Court of Human Rights.

The UK’s policy of deporting asylum seekers to a country thousands of kilometres away has been branded “immoral” by church leaders in England and heavily criticised by the UN refugee agency and rights groups.