Britain's Home Secretary, Suella Braverman, arrived in Rwanda on Saturday for a visit aimed at reinforcing the government's commitment to its controversial agreement with Kigali to deport some asylum-seekers to the African country.
After meetings with officials, she toured a construction training academy in the capital, Kigali, where she spoke to graduates of a training course which will be offered to refugees.
Braverman said the UK government was excited about the partnership with Rwanda which she said would be “creating a vibrant community here, to be a positive, secure, beautiful haven and home for many thousands of people.”
“And I'm really excited about the contribution that these talented graduates will be making to the prosperity of Rwanda and the security of many, many people," she said.
Her trip comes 11 months after the Conservative government signed the deportation agreement with Rwanda as part of measures intended to deter migrants from reaching the UK on dangerous journeys across the English Channel.
Under the scheme, some of those who arrive in Britain in small boats will be flown to Rwanda, where their asylum claims will be processed. Those granted asylum will stay in the African country rather than return to the UK.
But the $170 million plan has been mired in legal challenges, and no one has yet been sent to Rwanda.
Britain was forced to cancel the first deportation flight at the last minute in June 2022 after the European Court of Human Rights ruled that the plan carried “a real risk of irreversible harm”.
Human rights groups cite Rwanda's poor human rights record, and argue that it is inhumane to send people to a country more than 6,400 kilometres away that they do not want to live in.