Britain has given Rwanda a whopping £120m for the asylum plan – and it’s already being spent

Rwanda’s government tonight did not rule out keeping the money, even if a High Court hearing next month blocks all policy

Britain has given Rwanda the entire £120million payment for Priti Patel’s asylum scheme – and part of it has already been spent.

The Rwandan government confirmed that the advance payment for five years of work has been fully handed over and disbursement will begin.

And this despite the fact that no migrants have yet arrived after a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights banned the first flight.

Rwanda’s government tonight did not rule out keeping the money, even if a High Court hearing next month blocks all policy.

Spokeswoman Yolande Makolo said the £120million was “intended to prepare all the shelters and all the other institutions”.

Boris Johnson attends a lesson during a visit to GS Kacyiru II school on the sidelines of the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting


(Getty Images)

When asked if the money would be returned if the policy were declared unlawful, she told Der Spiegel, “I’m not going to speculate on that.”

The £120million has always been described as an upfront payment – but No10 today continued to insist the details were “confidential”.

It comes as Boris Johnson prepares to have tea with Prince Charles at a Commonwealth Summit in the Rwandan capital tomorrow.

He said he would urge the future king – who reportedly called the plan “appalling” – to keep an “open mind”, but No 10 later suggested he wouldn’t come up with it at all.

Mr Johnson met Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame at the summit today – but failed to address human rights concerns.

This comes despite the UK government’s last year saying it was concerned about “restrictions on civil and political rights and media freedoms” in Rwanda and “allegations of extrajudicial killings, deaths in custody, enforced disappearances and torture”.

Human Rights Watch has also warned that Rwanda “is not a safe third country to send asylum seekers to.”

But government spokeswoman Ms Makolo hit back: “Not only are they outdated, but they are unjustified allegations.

“There is nothing wrong with human rights in Rwanda. Human rights are a work in progress in every country.”

Yolande Makolo, spokeswoman for the Rwandan government, leads a press conference in Kigali



She accused groups “with intent” of making claims of human rights abuses, adding, “We are not where we were in 1994, 2004 and even 2014.” President Paul Kagame has ruled for 22 years and won in 2017 with almost 99% of the vote.

She added, “An organization that’s constantly pounding on us obviously doesn’t make sense to me and us.”

Asked for her comment on Prince Charles’ reported criticism of the policy, Ms Makolo said: “I can’t say.

“What we do know is that we are providing people with a home, we want people to feel safe and welcome here.

“We think that’s a good thing.

“And with the partnership that we have with the UK and the investment that the UK is making in that partnership, we believe we can make that happen and provide decent lives and opportunities for migrants and it will benefit Rwandans.”

When asked if there were outdated views of Rwanda in Britain, she replied: “I don’t think it’s just Britain.

“I think there’s a lot of misconceptions about what life is like in Rwanda and Africa in general, for a lot of reasons.”

She added: “People should come and see for themselves and not have the wrong idea.”

She insisted that a failed plan for Israel to send migrants to Rwanda was “not similar, but very, very different.”

Boris Johnson visited the Kigali Genocide Memorial today.

He paused at the flame of remembrance, which marked 28 years after the deaths of some 800,000 Tutsi and moderate Hutu at the hands of Hutu extremists in 100 days of bloodshed in 1994.

He wrote in the visitor’s book: “It was absolutely shocking to see these images and so many physical memorials of the horrifying and inexplicable genocide against the Tutsi.

“We must do everything to ensure that human hearts are never allowed to breed such hatred again.”

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