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Rwanda remains committed to a controversial deal reached with the British government that would see asylum seekers attempting to enter the UK being sent to the East African country for resettlement, an official said Wednesday.

The comment by government deputy spokesman Alain Mukuralinda came after the European Court of Human Rights blocked a scheduled flight of asylum seekers.

The court ruled late Tuesday that the Rwandan flight could not take place until a High Court judicial review next month is completed. The case was brought forward by one of the deportees.

The ruling rendered irrelevant a previous decision by Britain's High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court -- all of which had refused to block the Rwandan flights.

Mukuralinda said the current situation of people making dangerous journeys cannot continue as it is due to untold suffering for many.

“We are not deterred by these developments. Rwanda remains fully committed to making this partnership work,” he said.

Earlier Tuesday, Mukuralinda said that given other avenues have been tried without addressing the migrants' challenge, it is better to “give chance” to the partnership with Rwanda.

The government set up hostels in the nation’s capital of Kigali, where the migrants will be hosted.

They will be supported with a new start in life. Those who want to leave Rwanda will be supported in a return to their country of origin or relocated to a third country, according to the government.

Rwanda maintains that it has been hosting migrants and other asylum seekers, facilitating them to formally relocate to places of their choice.

Nearly 1000 migrants who were stranded in Libya but resettled in Rwanda under the 2019 Memorandum of Understanding signed with the UN Refugee Agency, and the African Union is cited as an example.

The majority who relocated to Rwanda under the arrangement have been relocated to third countries, according to the government.

Formally called the Rwanda-UK Migration and Economic Development Partnership Initiative, the deal has come under criticism from rights activists and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) who said no sufficient safeguards and standards are in place to facilitate such a deal.

Priti Patel, British home secretary who was in Rwanda last April to seal the deal, defended the deportation policy Wednesday in a statement to parliament, following the court ruling.

“It is no use pretending they are fleeing persecution when they are traveling from a safe country," she said.

“Our capacity to help is not infinite and public support for the asylum system will be fatally undermined if we do not act,” said Patel. “The critics of the Rwanda Partnership have no alternative proposal to deal with uncontrolled immigration.”

The plan is aimed to end people smuggling across the English Channel, according to the British government.

The UK is offering an upfront investment of £120 million ($156.9 million) to facilitate the implementation of the agreement, according to Patel.​​​​​​​ - James Tasamba, Anadolu Agency

 

The Fire Brigades Union has written to the government to demand it rethinks its decision to reject a key Grenfell Tower Inquiry recommendation, on the evacuation of disabled residents of high-rise buildings.

The inquiry recommended that “that the owner and manager of every high-rise residential building be required by law to prepare personal emergency evacuation plans (PEEPs)” for all disabled residents.

But last month the government rejected the recommendation and revealed downgraded plans, which have been roundly criticised including by Grenfell campaigners and disability rights campaigners.

The government had promised to implement the Grenfell Tower Inquiry phase one recommendations “in full”, of which this is one.

In a letter to Lord Greenhalgh dated 6 June 2022, Minister of State for Building Safety, Fire and Communities, Matt Wrack, Fire Brigades Union general secretary wrote [abridged]:

“The FBU was disappointed with the Westminster government’s decision to downgrade work towards ensuring residents with disabilities are provided with Personal Emergency Evacuation Plans (PEEPs)

“The [government] statement claims that implementation would involve significant issues with practicality, proportionality and safety. The FBU argues that resident safety is paramount, so there is a greater safety issue in declining to implement PEEPs. As for proportionality, the Inquiry has found the introduction of PEEPs to be a proportionate strategy, and the FBU agrees.

“Some reasons given for the refusal seem poorly evidenced, for example stating that if a PEEP advised the purchase of an evacuation chair, there would be an “impact on the good relations between disabled residents and non-disabled residents if disproportionate costs were passed on to the latter. Building owners should carry the costs.”

“The government’s decision is a negative, backward step, and the FBU stands with disability campaigners, the Grenfell campaign groups and the LGA in asking you to reconsider.”

15 out of 37 disabled Grenfell Tower residents lost their lives in the fire.

The union represents the vast majority of the hundreds of firefighters and fire control staff who were involved in the Grenfell response.

 

DAR ES SALAAM, June 4 (Xinhua) -- Tanzanian wildlife conservation authorities have decided to temporarily lift a ban on exports of live wild animals they imposed in March 2016 after the government observed irregularities in the business.

The state-run Tanzania Wildlife Management Authority (TAWA) said in a statement late Friday that the lifting of the ban involved business people who had captured wild animals for exports before the March 2016 ban was imposed.

The statement said business people who captured and raised wild animals before March 2016 will be allowed to export the animals within six months from June 6, 2022, to Dec. 5, 2022. They, however, should submit their valid documents to TAWA offices in Dar es Salaam, the commercial capital of Tanzania.

Also, the live wild animals should be exported through the Julius Nyerere International Airport in Dar es Salaam or the Kilimanjaro International Airport, said the statement.

The government banned the transportation of all live animals outside the country in March 2016 until proper procedures were made to ensure only approved animals are transported.

The decision sparked anger from exporters who complained that the ban was a surprise decision to them as it was made just a month after they were given licenses for exporting the animals. - Xinhua

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