Rwanda ‘ready’ for African migrants from Israel, Libya

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A refugee registration centre in Rwanda. The country has offered to take in 30 000 African immigrants and asylum seekers, but funding remains a challenge. FILE PHOTO | NMG

The East African RWANDA has reiterated its readiness to receive African migrants from Israel and Libya.

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Louise Mushikiwabo, affirmed that Kigali would accept the refugees and asylum seekers as long as the process of relocating them was in line with international laws.

“We have told the state of Israel that our country as part of its policy is ready to receive any African migrant that would be leaving Israel in the context of international law,” she said.

“We have also agreed that we will provide as a country the basics that we provide to our own citizens. It is the same for refugees and other foreign nationals coming to Rwanda. We have yet to get a number of those migrants to arrive here in Rwanda but we are ready, we have been ready,” Ms Mushikiwabo added.

She said Rwanda’s ‘open-door policy’ on refugees, migrants and asylum seekers remained as was even as Kigali continues to deny a controversial deal with Israel to have refugees relocated from Tel Aviv.

“That policy is not going to change, to receive anybody who is not comfortable for various reasons and all this of course within the means of our country,” she said.

“We are not pretending to be able to receive the whole world here but it is something we are considering,” she added.

Ms Mushikiwabo said the same policy is being applied for the migrants who are in Libya “under extremely horrendous conditions including being sold on markets and being mistreated”.

“On the migrants in Libya we are still waiting to reach an agreement within the context of the African Union which is corroborating with international organisations on migrations to figure out which type of migrants and their identifications, the numbers that would be coming to Rwanda but that would be in the next several weeks,” she said.

Rwanda has offered to take in at least 30 000 African immigrants stranded in Libya as well as African asylum seekers in Israel.

Congo refugees

However, the offer came under scrutiny last month after 11 Congolese refugees in Kiziba camp in western Rwanda were shot dead by police during a food protest.

More than 17 000 refugees have been protesting against a 25 per cent cut in food rations since January by the UN World Food Programme as a result of under funding.

Following the protests, questions have been raised on whether Rwanda is able to provide basic needs for even more migrants.