UK's new Prime Minister Keir Starmer says the Rwanda deportation plan is "dead and buried." / Photo: AFP

Rwanda said on Monday that it "takes note" of the decision by the new Labour government in Britain to scrap a controversial deal to deport asylum seekers to the East African country.

Prime Minister Keir Starmer had announced on Saturday that the migrant plan, forged by the ousted Conservative government, was "dead and buried."

There had already been a spate of legal challenges to the scheme, with the UK Supreme Court in November last year ruling that it was illegal under international law.

"Rwanda takes note of the intention of the UK Government to terminate the Migration and Economic Development Partnership Agreement, as provided for under the terms of the Treaty passed by both our Parliaments," the office of government spokesperson Yolande Makolo said in a statement.

'A problem of the UK'

"This partnership was initiated by the Government of the UK in order to address the crisis of irregular migration affecting the UK – a problem of the UK, not Rwanda," the statement said.

"Rwanda has fully upheld its side of the agreement, including with regard to finances, and remains committed to finding solutions to the global migration crisis, including providing safety, dignity and opportunity to refugees and migrants who come to our country."

The Labour Party said before the July 4 election that it would ditch the scheme, which the Conservative government had said was designed to deter huge numbers of migrants trying to get across the Channel to the UK on boats from northern France.

Earlier this year, former Prime Minister Rishi Sunak had pushed through legislation in parliament that deems Rwanda a safe country, allowing the migrant flights to go ahead despite concerns about human rights laws.

Political issue

Immigration has become an increasingly central political issue since the UK left the European Union in 2020, largely on a promise to "take back control" of the country's borders.

Rwanda, home to 13 million people in Africa's Great Lakes region, claims to be one of the most stable countries on the continent and has drawn praise for its modern infrastructure.

But rights groups accuse veteran President Paul Kagame of ruling in a climate of fear, stifling dissent and free speech.

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