Elizabeth Coleman, a member of QARN, the Quaker Asylum and Refugee Network, has drafted a well-argued letter criticising the scheme. People are welcome to adapt the letter, as they wish. Among other points, she makes reference to Rwanda’s illegal incursions into the Democratic republic of Congo, and its theft of valuable minerals.
TELLING THE TRUTH ABOUT RWANDA AND ITS INVOLVEMENT IN DRC
Together with many others, I am horrified at the Government’s plans to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda. I do not accept that people who cross the channel in small boats are entering illegally, as we have a duty under the Geneva Convention to accept asylum seekers, and they have no choice as to how they arrive. If we are really concerned about their safety, and want to crack down on people traffickers, we need to provide a safe route for them to come to the UK to claim asylum.
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, on Monday dismissed the British Government’s proposal to process United Kingdom-bound asylum seekers in Rwanda, describing the offshore deal between the two countries announced in April, as “all wrong”. [1, 2].
I am particularly appalled that the country to which they are to be deported is Rwanda, with has an extremely poor human rights record. To quote Human Rights Watch, 
“The ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) continues to target those perceived as a threat to the government. Several high-profile critics have been arrested or threatened and authorities regularly fail to conduct credible investigations into cases of enforced disappearances and suspicious deaths of government opponents. Arbitrary detention, ill-treatment, and torture in official and unofficial detention facilities is commonplace, and fair trial standards are routinely flouted in many sensitive political cases, in which security-related charges are often used to prosecute prominent government critics. Arbitrary detention and mistreatment of street children, sex workers and petty vendors occurs widely.” [4, 5, 6]
Michela Wrong, in her recent book “Do Not Disturb”, has documented in some detail the murders of political opposition figures who fled abroad. 
Rwanda is due to host the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting from 20 to 25 June, and this will raise its profile. People tend to have a rosy view of Rwanda, thinking that it has got through the time of genocide and is now recovering and pulling itself out of poverty. To quote Archbishop Desmond Tutu:
“The whole world wanted to believe in the miracle that was Rwanda – a country built from the wreckage and devastation that intertribal violence and ethnic cleansing had caused. The whole world ignored the few voices pointing out the silencing of political opponents through imprisonment, kidnapping or torture. To our shame, our need for Rwanda to succeed far exceeded our desire or ability to see the cost at which that success was bought.”
My main concern is about the devastating effect that Rwanda’s invasions, support of armed groups and theft of minerals has had in Democratic Republic of Congo, resulting in the loss of millions of lives. Minerals stolen from the DRC are re-labelled as being sourced from Rwanda. The invasions and thefts continue. In June 2022, Rwandan soldiers were found to be present fighting with the notorious M23 rebel group in East Congo. A spokesman of the military of North Kivu province, East DRC, said:
“The Rwandan defence forces have this time decided to violate … our territorial integrity by occupying the border town of Bunagana,” adding that it constituted “no less than invasion of the Democratic Republic of Congo”. [9-16]
I am concerned the truth should be told about Rwanda, and that pressure should be put on it, by all means including withdrawing aid, to keep out of Congo. I would ask you to speak out on this issue, and to press the Government to use its influence to keep Rwanda out of Congo.
(Full name, address, phone no and email address)
Amnesty International: UK: Banishing people seeking asylum to Rwanda is ‘appalling’
- UN: UK’s bid to export some refugees to Rwanda, ‘all wrong’, says UN refugee chief
- Human Right Watch: Public Letter to UK Home Secretary on Expulsions to Rwanda
- Spectato:r When will Britain wake up to the horror of Rwanda’s President? https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/when-will-britain-wake-up-to-the-horror-of-rwandas-president
- BBC: UK asylum deal: Is Rwanda a land of safety or fear?
- Rwanda president suggests UK extradite genocide suspects after asylum deal. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/may/16/rwanda-president-suggests-uk-extradite-genocide-suspect-asylum-deal-paul-kagame
- Do Not Disturb review – the disturbing death of a Rwandan dissident
Michela Wrong https://www.theguardian.com/books/2021/apr/13/do-not-disturb-review-the-disturbing-death-of-a-rwandan-dissident
- Prince Charles slams UK’s Rwanda plan: report
- 2012 (November 15). Final report of the Group of Experts on the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
10. 2010 (March).”Mapping Project” report of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on the DRC.
http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/pdfid/4d8b45432.pdf. or http://
11. Denis Mukengere Mukwege, Cathy Nangini (2009).Rape with Extreme Violence: The New Pathology in South Kivu,Democratic Republic of Congo. PloS Medecine.