Four Rwandans ‘granted refugee status in UK over fears of persecution’

Four Rwandans have reportedly been granted refugee status in Britain over “well-founded” fears of persecution, as Rishi Sunak pushes forward with legislation aimed at declaring the country a safe destination for asylum seekers.

The details of the cases are in addition to the six people who Home Office figures suggest had UK asylum applications approved between April 2022 and September 2023, according to the Observer.

The report threatens to undermine the prime minister’s position that Kigali is “unequivocally” safe – an argument which is central to his plan to revive the government’s flagship asylum policy.

One of the Rwandans was a supporter of an opposition party led by Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza.
He was reportedly granted asylum on October 12, the day after the Government concluded a case in the Supreme Court arguing the country was safe.

Another said he sought refuge in Britain because he feared he would be targeted by the regime over a family member’s suspected links to the opposition.A Home Office letter dated October 17 last year reportedly accepted he had a “well-founded fear of persecution”.

It comes ahead of a crunch week for Mr Sunak’s Rwanda Bill, which aims to prevent further legal challenge to transferring asylum seekers to the east African nation, as it gets debated in the House of Lords.

The Supreme Court last year ruled against the government’s plan to send people who arrive in Britain via small boat crossings in the English Channel to Kigali.

In a bid to save the policy, Mr Sunak has introduced legislation seeking to enable Parliament itself to deem Rwanda safe, as well as updating a treaty with the country.