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The asylum center in Rwanda is preparing to take in children from the UK

The 50-room Hope Hostel in Kigali – which is earmarked to host the first people displaced from the UK – “will accommodate people of all ages” and says “we are prepared for anything that may happen”.

The Hope Hostel in Kigali, Rwanda, where UK asylum seekers are to be sent
The Hope Hostel in Kigali, Rwanda, where UK asylum seekers are to be sent

Rwanda’s asylum center makes preparations to take in children from the UK.

The 50-room center in Kigali – slated to house the first people displaced from Britain – is building a sports pitch for football, basketball and volleyball, adding “toys” when children arrive.

Elisee Kalyango, director of Hope House, said alongside the construction site that the center “is suitable for people of all ages” and “we are prepared for anything that comes up”.

He said the sports facilities “will support children and when we have them we will put some toys there”.

He added: “If there are children, we can set up more facilities for children.”

Downing Street ruled out forcing “unaccompanied” children into Rwanda – but did not rule out sending children when they are with their parents.

“I don’t know, it will depend on those who make the journey,” Boris Johnson’s spokesman said.







Downing Street ruled out forcing “unaccompanied” children into Rwanda – but did not rule out sending children when they are with their parents
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Picture:

Dan Bloom/Reach PLC)

“We are preparing for all eventualities and you can see that we have prepared well.” But he stressed that 90% of those crossing the Channel in small boats are men.

Labor’s Yvette Cooper has blasted the revelation about the “unworkable, unethically unethical and outrageously expensive” plan.

The Shadow Home Secretary said tonight: “The fact that they are now including vulnerable children in their plans is sinking to a truly new low.

“Priti Patel should be ashamed.”

The Mirror was today given a carefully guided tour of the facility after Boris Johnson turned away a visit during the Commonwealth Leaders Summit.

Hope House’s 50 rooms, each with two double beds, have been vacant for weeks after the first relocation flight was blocked by a court order.







The prayer room overlooking the Kigali hills
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Picture:

Dan Bloom/Reach PLC)

The center’s former residents, including students and adults orphaned by the 1994 genocide, have been relocated elsewhere.

The main hostel building had yellow walls, tiled floors and plants to cool down the Central African heat.

We passed four outside sinks for washing hands with Covid, an airport style pocket scanner and two smartly dressed receptionists.

Positioned and clearly informed of our arrival, they stood beneath clocks showing the time in London and Paris.

Other buildings contain a restaurant, a marquee for meetings and Covid testing, and counseling rooms for traumatized refugees.

The center has a prayer room with a view of the Kigali Hills, a “souvenir shop” where cigarettes can be purchased, as well as showers, toilets and a laundry room.







Toiletries in the rooms
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Picture:

Dan Bloom/Reach PLC)

Signs were printed in English, Arabic, Farsi and Albanian, while hotel-style toiletries were laid out on the bedside tables, along with mosquito nets and bug spray because of the high risk of malaria.

Signs on the walls advise residents that items found in the facility are “not for sale” and add, “Do not draw on the walls.”

People will stay in the shelter for nine months, managers said, and then move to permanent housing.

It didn’t seem to exist yet, and a manager told us it was being bought or built.

Outside, a large car gate was padlocked by two security guards and signs warn residents not to have guests in their rooms.







Outside, a large car gate was padlocked by two security guards
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Picture:

Dan Bloom/Reach PLC)

But the director of the center, Elisee Kalyango, told me, “It’s like a hotel. In a hotel you have freedom of movement.”

Rwandan government spokesman Yolande Makolo added: “There are no planned detention centers or anything like that.

“They can come and go as they please.”

When the hostel fills with 100 people, other nearby accommodation will be used – and where that is has not yet been announced.







The shower block in the hostel
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Picture:

Dan Bloom/Reach PLC)







The Hope Hostel in Kigali, Rwanda, where UK asylum seekers are to be sent
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Picture:

Dan Bloom/Reach PLC)

Priti Patel’s supporters pointed to Hope Hostel as a beacon of why the plan will be a success.

But Labor MP Chi Onwurah, who toured the facility earlier this week, said her objection was the “morality and cost” of the plan, not the hostel itself.

She added: “While the accommodation is pleasant, it was not clear to me whether it is suitable for vulnerable, terrorized refugees or for mixed-gender groups or for children.

“Refugees are further traumatized by being transported against their will.”

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “We have taken significant steps, as has the Rwandan government, to ensure that people here have everything they need and the opportunity to settle down and live their lives.”

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https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/rwanda-asylum-seekers-hostel-making-27323344 The asylum center in Rwanda is preparing to take in children from the UK

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