23 February 2018

Rwanda: We Are Not Involved in Israel Immigrants' Issues - Rwanda

Photo: Shahar Shoam/IRIN
African asylum seekers demonstrating outside Israel's parliament in Jerusalem shortly before being arrested and returned to a new "open" holding facility in the southern Negev desert.

The Rwandan government has rejected claims Kigali was involved in efforts to return illegal African immigrants from Israel to Africa, with Rwanda reported to be one of the possible destinations.

"Any suggestion - explicit or implicit - that certain groups of migrants are presented with two options: "go to Rwanda or go to jail" would be wrong and offensive," the government said in a statement released Thursday.

It added: "The situation of migrants in Israel, and the process of their leaving, is an internal Israeli issue.

"As long as legal requirements are met, Rwanda, within its means, will be willing to assist any migrant in need."

Rwanda offered to host about 30,000 African victims of human trafficking, a decision Kigali said was borne out of national values and an understanding of such situations from the country's history.

"As a matter of practice and policy, Rwanda's position on migrants and refugees has been to open its doors to any Africans in need of shelter. That policy is borne out of the history and the life lived by many Rwandans, as well as our own national values," the Government said in the statement.

Rwanda is home to some 180,000 refugees from especially the Great Lakes region.

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