Denmark opens Rwanda office as part of new asylum centre plan

The Danish government announced the opening of a project office in Rwanda’s capital Kigali, as part of the Nordic country’s plan to eventually set up an asylum centre in the East African nation.

“Denmark and Rwanda share a wish to help more refugees better than today and to fight irregular and life-threatening migration, including across the Mediterranean,” Immigration Minister Kaare Dybvad Bek said in a statement issued by the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs Thursday.

“Our shared goal is to reform the current, flawed asylum system and ensure a dignified and sustainable future for refugees and migrants. I am therefore pleased that we will soon be able to open an office in Rwanda,” he added.

According to the statement, the project office will also enable Denmark to expand cooperation with Rwanda in areas of mutual interest, including climate, good governance as well as asylum and migration.

The project office, expected to strengthen bilateral relations, will work in line with the two cooperation agreements reached between the two countries last year: one on asylum and migration issues and the other on political dialogue and cooperation, said the document.

The “outsourcing of migrants” was an initiative of Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen and passed into law by Parliament in June 2021.

The law provides for migrants to be flown out to partner countries while their asylum applications are being examined.

The plan is mired in controversy at home and abroad with critics arguing that it violates the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and EU law.

Denmark, however, is not bound by EU law in this instance because of a series of special opt-out clauses that apply to its membership in the bloc.

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