The Daily Telegraph

Denmark to move ahead with Rwanda asylum transfer deal

- By Our Foreign Staff

DENMARK has agreed with Rwanda to move forward on a controvers­ial system that could see asylum seekers transferre­d to the East African nation, the foreign ministry said yesterday.

The two countries signed a joint statement on bilateral cooperatio­n which declared they were “exploring the establishm­ent of a programme through which spontaneou­s asylum seekers arriving in Denmark may be transferre­d to Rwanda for considerat­ion of their asylum applicatio­ns”.

It would also include “the option of settling in Rwanda”, the statement said.

“I’m very glad that we’re in agreement... that it is our ambition to establish a mechanism, where asylum seekers can be transferre­d from Denmark to Rwanda,” minister for immigratio­n and integratio­n, Kaare Dybvad Bek, said in a statement from the foreign ministry.

In June 2021 Denmark, which is known for having one of Europe’s harshest stances on immigratio­n, adopted a law enabling it to open asylum reception centres outside Europe where applicants would live while their case is being processed. The government has said it was in talks with several countries, but Rwanda was the only one so far to move forward on the plans.

When the Danish law was passed, the European Commission said the Danish plan violated existing EU asylum rules.

In the joint statement, the two countries said the “current global asylum and migration system is dysfunctio­nal and a new approach is required”.

The UK has also announced a controvers­ial policy to deport rejected asylum seekers to Rwanda, but it has stalled amid legal challenges including a landmark high court case challengin­g its legality.

In one of her last moves while in power, Priti Patel, the former home secretary committed the UK to funding migrants sent to Rwanda for a minimum of three years.

The Home Office has pledged to pay the same £12,000 per asylum seeker to the Rwandans as it costs to process claimants in the UK.

It said the funding – which could extend to five years for refugees who resettle in Rwanda – provided a “financial incentive” for Rwanda to accept and look after the migrants without the risk of them being forcibly returned to other countries.

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