“Hope Hostel” in Rwanda is about set to host refugees under the UK’s controversial asylum plan. According to the manager, they are also preparing to host children who will be sent there with their parents.
The asylum plan will see tens of thousands of migrants who arrived illegally in the UK being sent to 4,000 miles away to the East African country. The agreement between the two countries is reportedly set to cost the UK 120 million GBP (148 million USD).
The deportees will stay at the Hope Hostel for about 9 months after they arrive, while the Rwanda government assesses their asylum claim. The hostel, which has modern facilities, is currently building a mini football pitch and basketball court in consideration of the children.
According to Elisee Kalyango, the hostel manager, they are also considering buying outdoor toys to put on the nearby lawns. “We are ready to accept all ages,” said Kalyango in an interview with reporters travelling with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson for the Commonwealth summit in Rwanda.
The UK’s asylum plan has received lots of backlash from the general public as well as the Church. However, the government has refused to back down, claiming it necessary to dismantle the operations of people-smuggling networks.
The British government had initially said that there would be no unaccompanied children sent to Rwanda, but the prime minister’s spokesman said that did not include sending children to the hostel with their parents.
"We prepare for all eventualities, and you can see we have prepared properly. Our view is we have taken significant steps, as have the Rwandan government, and those running this site, to make sure people have everything they need here and opportunities to resettle and live their lives," he said.
The spokesman explained that the deportation policy would mostly affect male adults who make up 90% of the asylum seekers who cross the English Channel to illegally enter the UK.
Lord Dubs, a member of the House of Lords of the UK, expressed his profound disapproval of the UK’s plan to include children.
“I think it’s utterly unacceptable. The policy of sending people to Rwanda is awful enough without adding that they are going to send children. I don’t know how they think they can get away with it - I think it’s deeply, deeply shocking. It makes it clear they don’t care who they send to Rwanda, as long as they get rid of people,” said Dubs.
Before now, Hope Hostel has been home to orphans of Rwanda’s infamous 1994 genocide. They were moved out of the facility in April – when the UK-Rwanda deal was signed – to make room for the asylum seekers.
Kalyango said there are about 20 employees at the hostel, even though there are currently no visitors.
On his way to Rwanda for the Commonwealth summit, Boris Johnson said the Ukrainian refugees would also face being deported to Rwanda if they entered the UK illegally. This contradicts his previous statement where he said the prospect of that “was simply not going to happen” .
Johnson also said he would not be able to visit the facilities reserved for the asylum seekers.
Source: Reuters, WalesOnline