Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting to open in Rwanda

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Rwanda today. The first such meeting

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Kigali, Rwanda today amid the ongoing controversy around Britain’s plan to send migrants to the African country – Photo: Reuters/Jean Bizimana

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Rwanda today.

The first such meeting since 2018, delegates from across the Commonwealth will come together to discuss trade agreements, the impact of COVID-19 and the reappointment of the Secretary General. A key point of discussion between the U.K. and Rwanda will be the U.K.- Rwanda Migration and Economic Development Partnership.

Under this deal, the U.K. government plans to send some migrants who arrive in the U.K. to Rwanda, in exchange for $150 million in development aid. The partnership was met with outrage from human rights groups, but Johnson has defended it, calling the plan a legitimate way to protect lives and thwart criminal gangs that smuggle migrants across the English Channel. A flight with asylum seekers was scheduled to depart on June 14, but was halted due to a last minute court judgment which decided that asylum-seekers faced “real risk of irreversible harm”.

The partnership may draw attention away from Rwanda’s poor human rights record and improve its reputation in the international community. Expect the U.K. and Rwanda to move forward with the partnership, as European countries seek to outsource incoming refugees to developing countries in exchange for cash through similar partnerships.

Download the Daily Brief app to stay ahead of geopolitics with daily, short, forward-looking analysis of geopolitical events before they hit the headlines.