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Refugees labeled as ‘Open Prison’ after UK exports asylum seekers to Rwanda

  • Posted on June 7, 2024
  • News

Refugees transferred by the UK from Diego Garcia to Rwanda over a year ago say they feel trapped in an "open prison", with poor medical care and facing harassment despite the UK paying for their accommodation.


Former residents of the distant British dependency of Diego Garcia who have been relocated to Rwanda over a year ago claim they are in danger and have no way to escape the African country. When asked in an interview with the BBC four Sri Lankan Tamil migrants said that in Rwanda they feel like they are in an “open prison.

The small group, many of whom have been tortured or sexually assaulted, was originally sent to a British territory in the Indian Ocean called Diego Garcia after trying to set sail for Canada to seek asylum. They were later evacuated by private jets to Rwanda for further medical treatment after suicide attempts in late 2022 following a deal between the UK and Rwandan governments.

However, the migrants have complained that their medical and mental health needs are not adequately attended in Rwanda. They get $50 a week in pocket money and are not allowed to earn any money at all. All four claim to have experienced harassment, sexual advances, and attempted break-and-enters that make them fearful of departing their lodgings.

Lakshani, 23 years old, is also afraid to go outside  “We don’t go outside. We’re always scared. ” have no women here! I have no friends. ”

An attorney who has been defending two of the migrants stated that their experiences do evince credible concerns regarding the ability and willingness of Rwanda to provide safe refuge for vulnerable refugees. However, Rwandese official Doris Uwicyeza Picard came in to defend her country, arguing that the issue of safety is not shared by anyone else. ’

It raises questions about oaboutthe UK government’s pilot policy of relocating some of the asylum seekers arriving in Britain to Rwanda for their applications to be processed. The plan has been criticized for being ineffectual, unethical, and hostile toward vulnerable migrant populations.

Also Read:  Palestinian Rockets Followed by Israeli Raid on Rafah Refugee Camp

With no light at the end of the tunnel, the migrants in Rwanda state that they are stranded with no direction from the UK while they wish for a better future.

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