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Botswana rejects Britain's request to host deported immigrants: Foreign Minister

April 24, 2024 at 3:55 pm

Hundreds of demonstrators gather during a protest against the UK’s plan to send migrants and asylum seekers to Rwanda and the court’s decision on the matter in front of the Ministry of Interior in London, United Kingdom on June 13, 2022. [Raşid Necati Aslım – Anadolu Agency ]

Botswana refused a request by the UK to host illegal migrants it deported, the Southern African country’s Foreign Minister, Lemogang Kwape, has said, Anadolu Agency reports.

“I can confirm that the British government, through the Foreign Secretary and the Minister for Africa did approach Botswana through diplomatic channels to receive illegal migrants that are destined for the United Kingdom but we did not accede to their request,” Kwape told broadcaster, Newzroom Afrika in an interview late Tuesday.

Kwape said Botswana has enough problems, especially immigration challenges, in its neighbourhood.

“So, to receive unwanted immigrants from another country while we are dealing with our own problems in the region would be unfair,” he said.

He emphasised that his country simply cannot accept illegal migrants from a third country.

Botswana hosts a number of immigrants from neighbouring Zimbabwe, Somalia, the Democratic Republic of Congo and others.

“Clearly the British government does not want these people in their country so they want to ferry them to a faraway country,” Kwape added.

The British Parliament passed a Bill earlier this week that would see illegal migrants deported to Rwanda, which agreed to host them, despite wide condemnation by rights groups, representatives and the UN.

After the Bill passed late Monday, British Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, said the country’s focus is now to “get flights off the ground.”

He noted that London introduced the Rwanda Bill to deter vulnerable migrants from “making perilous crossings and break the business model of the criminal gangs who exploit them”.

READ: UN experts urge UK airlines, aviation authorities to not facilitate unlawful removals to Rwanda