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Rwanda — refugees deported to country where dissent is drowned in blood 

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The Tories want to send refugees to Rwanda—a country with a government known for torture and extra-judicial killings
Issue 2802
Rwanda's minister Dr Vincent Biruta and Priti Patel

Rwandan minister Dr Vincent Biruta and Priti Patel

Deporting refugees to Rwanda is another example of how imperialist powers work with the most reactionary governments in the Global South. Between April and July 1994, some 800,000 people were slaughtered in Rwanda, mainly from the Tutsi minority group. 

The genocide was launched by a government that worked closely with the West, particularly France. The aftermath of the genocide saw the installation of the brutally repressive regime of Paul Kagame from the Tutsi‑led forces that defeated the genocide‑supporting regime.

After such horrors it had a wave of international sympathy. But Kagame has ruled Rwanda for 27 years in the most undemocratic way, ruthlessly suppressing opposition.  And that attitude extends to refugees. In 2018 Rwandan security forces shot dead at least 12 refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo when they protested against a cut to food rations.

Authorities arrested and prosecuted over 60 of them on charges including “spreading false information with intent to create a hostile international opinion against the Rwandan state”. These same laws could be used against the people Britain now wants to pluck from south coast beaches and dump in Africa.

Human Rights Watch says, “Rwanda has a known track record of extra-judicial killings, suspicious deaths in custody, unlawful or arbitrary detention, torture, and abusive prosecutions, particularly targeting critics and dissidents. 

In fact Britain directly raised its concerns about respect for human rights with Rwanda, and grants asylum to Rwandans who have fled the country, including four just last year.” That record has never troubled Kagame’s Western backers. 

Rwanda has a powerful ­state-directed industry and acts as a centre for the export of minerals and gemstones. Its army also can act as the cop of the region. For a long time Kagame, while repulsing France, became close to Britain and the United States.

But more recently it has moved heavily towards China which has invested to extend its influence in Africa. In response Britain and France have tried to pull Rwanda back into their orbit. The latest pact is an example of this. The Tories previously considered sending migrants and refugees to decommissioned oil platforms in the North Sea and old ferries off the British coastline. 

Then they looked at countries including Ghana and Albania as well as British colonial outposts Gibraltar and Ascension Island. Their final choice is a poor African country with a record of repression. They buy it off with a few million pounds to act as an agent for the ejection of unwanted human beings from Britain.

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