Home » UK-Rwanda Treaty completes ratification process

UK-Rwanda Treaty completes ratification process

The UK-Rwanda Treaty has been ratified as the Safety of Rwanda Act receives Royal Assent, marking the end of a crucial week in Parliament and getting flights to Rwanda one step closer.

The internationally binding Treaty between the UK and Rwanda addresses the Supreme Court’s findings on the partnership last year, introducing measures that make clear Rwanda will not return anyone to an unsafe country. The Treaty works hand in hand with the Safety of Rwanda Act, which has now received Royal Assent, and confirms that Rwanda is safe for the purposes of relocating people. 

Home Secretary James Cleverly and Rwandan Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Vincent Biruta signed the Treaty during a ceremony in Kigali in December 2023. Today, Thursday 25 April, the government completed ratification, including laying a statement in Parliament confirming its intent to ratify the Treaty. This allows for the final phase of operational planning to get flights off the ground to Rwanda, to begin.

Home Secretary James Cleverly said:   

We said that we would do what was necessary to get our landmark partnership delivered and today marks another key step forward. 

Our robust Act and Treaty make clear once and for all that Rwanda is a safe country. I am grateful for the ongoing collaboration from our Rwandan partners – who expedited work on the Treaty – for getting us to this position.

We must do everything in our power to make clear that if you come here illegally you cannot stay, remove the incentive for dangerous Channel crossings and break the business model of the callous criminal gangs driving this trade.

Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Dr. Vincent Biruta said:

We are pleased to have taken this important step forward in the implementation of the Migration and Economic Development Partnership.

Rwanda has always been ready and prepared to receive migrants and asylum seekers. To ensure the partnership’s success and in parallel to the ratification of the Treaty, Rwanda implemented legislation and fast tracked the application of Treaty guarantees that address concerns raised in the legal process about the protection of asylum seekers.

Rwanda stands ready to work with the United Kingdom and to provide those who come here with the support and opportunities they will need to build new lives in our safe and welcoming country.

Under the Treaty, Rwanda has strengthened its end-to-end asylum system through its own new legislation and created a specialist asylum appeals tribunal to consider individual appeals against any refused claims. It will have two co-presidents, from Rwanda and another Commonwealth country, and be made up of judges from a mix of nations.

It enhances the role of the independent Monitoring Committee, which will ensure adherence to obligations under the Treaty and have the power to set its own priority areas for monitoring.  

The UK and Rwanda Migration and Economic Development Partnership paves the way for an innovative new model for tackling illegal migration, with countries across Europe exploring similar agreements, including Austria, Germany, Denmark, and Italy in their deal with Albania.

The agreement goes hand-in-hand with wider action to stop the boats, with the number of small boat arrivals falling by more than a third in 2023.

This includes work with international partners which prevented more than 26,000 crossings last year, as well as work helping to dismantle 82 organised crime groups since July 2020.

The UK’s new agreement with Albania has cut Albanian small boat arrivals by more than 90 per cent; and we recently signed a ground-breaking deal with Frontex, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, marking another crucial step in securing our borders.