‘What are you talking about?’ Sky host has minister squirming in heated Rwanda record row

Tom Pursglove clashes with Sky News host over Rwanda

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Mr Pursglove tried to deflect Mr Paterson’s questions about Rwanda’s human rights legislation. The Sky News presenter erupted over a Human Rights Watch report, which was published last year, showing Rwandan authorities detaining gay and transgender citizens. The Home Office has been facing backlash for implementing a new policy where those seeking asylum arrive on UK beaches will now be sent offshore to Rwanda to be processed, due to a new agreement with the country.

Mr Paterson kept pushing Mr Pursglove for answers as to why the UK Government chose Rwanda, and whether the country was safe enough.

The presenter said: “Can we just ask, why Rwanda? I mean how safe is that country? 

“You know luckily they haven’t had a genocide for almost 30 years which is great, but their record in human rights particularly LGBT is pretty sketchy.

“A Human Rights Watch report published last year found evidence that the Rwandan authorities had detained over a dozen gay and transgender people ahead of a June 2021 conference.

“This is all taking place presumably while your department has been negotiating with Rwanda.”

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Mr Pursglove said: “We have seen I have to say, some appalling stereotypes thrown around in the last twenty-four hours, since this announcement…”

Mr Paterson said: “But Minister… Minister sorry according to the Foreign Office…the Foreign Office travel advice for heading to Rwanda reads this.

“Homosexuality remains frowned upon by many, it’s not illegal but it can be frowned upon.

“LGBT can experience discrimination and abuse including from local authorities, that is the advice given to gay people in this country, by the Foreign Office just around the corner you.”

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Mr Pursglove added: “The fact is that Rwanda has made huge strides forward over the last three decades.

“It has a female majority parliament, it has an anti-discrimination law that runs right through its constitution.

“And it’s also just worth making the point, that the UNHCR themselves place refugees in Rwanda as part of their schemes.

“Which of course is providing sanctuary to them, and they have a rich and proud history rather like we do in this country of providing sanctuary to people who need it.

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“But also let me just make a further point, because I think this is crucial in all of this.

“That in terms of individuals being considered for relocation to Rwanda, that will be managed on a case by case basis taking a proper account of everybody’s circumstances before any such transfer happens that is the right and proper way of managing this responsibly.

“Making sure, and the key criteria is this, making sure it is safe for them.”

The Home Secretary told the Press Conference: “The UK asylum system is collapsing under a combination of real humanitarian crises and evil people smugglers profiteering by exploiting the system for their own gains.

“Criminals are exploiting the hopes and fears of migrants, pushing them to making dangerous journeys to the UK, with fictitious and false promises that they can settle in the UK if they make it.

“And this has devastating consequences for the countless men, women and children who have tragically lost their lives or loved ones on perilous journeys.

“It is also deeply unfair, because it advantages those with the means to pay smugglers over the vulnerable who cannot.”

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