Rwanda could host people seeking asylum in Denmark

Wednesday May 05 2021
Asylum seekers.

Hundreds of refugees from Syria, Iraq and Africa walk along a motorway towards the Austrian border, near Budapest, Hungary, September 4, 2015. Following an MoU, Rwanda could host refugees and people seeking asylum in Denmark. PHOTO | FILE | DPA | AFP

By Johnson Kanamugire

Rwanda could host refugees and people seeking asylum in Denmark as the European country seeks to embark on a plan of sending its asylum seekers to a third country for processing.

Denmark, which hosts thousands of Syrian refugees, has underscored the need for the processing of asylum applications to take place outside of the European Union in order to break the negative incentive structure of the present asylum system.

Rwanda and Denmark on April 24 signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) regarding cooperation on asylum and migration issues, in which Danish authorities underlined the need to find new ways of addressing the migration and refugee challenges facing countries of origin, transit and destination.

Denmark indicates that it made pledges towards durable solutions including, among others, provision of financial support to the Rwanda’s Emergency Transit Mechanism (ETM) as well to job creation and livelihood in the agricultural sector.

Mattias Tesfaye, Danish Immigration Minister, and Development Minister Flemming Moller Mortensen visited Rwanda a week ago where they committed to creating a mechanism for bilateral cooperation in addressing asylum and migration crisis in an agreement signed with Prof Nshuti Manasseh, their Rwandan counterpart in charge of the East African Community.

Authorities described the MoU as constituting the framework for strengthening the bilateral cooperation on asylum and migration issues between the Parties.


“Other areas such as statelessness, preventing durable and sustainable solutions for refugees, could also be considered for support. The framework should also include a strengthened bilateral dialogue and cooperation on new and sustainable solutions to the present migration and refugee challenges,” the MoU states.

Parties indicate that the forms of cooperation could include, but are not limited to, investigation in immigration matters, return and repatriation, post entry management, border management, combating illegal migration, combatting human trafficking, human smuggling and terrorism, detection of fraudulent documents and information sharing on criminal fugitives.

There is also provision to facilitate and harmonise procedures for the return of irregular immigrants, as well as technical assistance by Danish, or other local or international experts, including secondments, equipment, infrastructure, ID management, and biometric registration.

Details on the agreement also show that Parties seek to cooperate in livelihood support for refugees, support to ETM, and resettlement for refugees; or any other related matter of mutual concern.

Denmark, for instance, agreed to provide funding from its dedicated asylum and migration funds for the identified cooperation activities and projects with Rwanda.

Danish media, however, reported that the country planned to transfer its asylum seekers and refugees to an offshore asylum centre in the African country, alluding to the MoU signed with Rwanda.

Rwandan authorities did not comment on the development.

Rwanda struck similar deals before with Israel that could see scores of African refugees and asylum seekers taken to the East African country.

A separate deal with the EU saw Rwanda take in hundreds of African migrants held in detention centres in Libya through temporary evacuation.

The country offered to receive 30,000 African immigrants from Libya under the Emergency Transit Mechanism providing lifesaving protection, assistance and resettlement to refugees trapped in detention in Libya.