Rwanda refugee hostel prepares to receive children

KIGALI, Rwanda — A hostel in Rwanda earmarked for asylum seekers trying to reach the U.K. is preparing facilities for children, despite the policy being aimed at adult men. 

Journalists were shown round accommodation in Kigali which will house migrants sent to Rwanda under U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s controversial plan to deter people from crossing the Channel in small boats. 

The Hope Hostel can host up to 500 people but is currently empty as legal challenges prevented the first group of migrants from leaving Britain. 

Matthew Rycroft, permanent secretary at the Home Office, told MPs at a recent committee hearing that sending single, adult men was the “starting policy” but the prospect of removing women to Rwanda had not been ruled out.

Elisee Kalyango, manager of the Hope Hostel in Kigali, showed members of the press a construction site where a basketball court will be built and children’s playground toys installed.

The prime minister’s spokesman, asked if the government expects children at the hostel, said: “We prepare for all eventualities and you can see we have prepared properly.”

He would only rule out the removal of unaccompanied children to Rwanda, saying: “Ninety percent of those coming across are men … We have taken significant steps as have those running the site to have everything they need here so they have an opportunity to be settled and live their lives.”

The British prime minister, who is visiting Kigali for a Commonwealth summit, has expressed his commitment to the policy despite concerns over Rwanda’s human rights record. 

At a meeting between Johnson and Rwandan President Paul Kagame Thursday, the two leaders praised the migration partnership as a ”successful” initiative which will “offer people a chance to build a new life in a safe country,” a Downing Street spokesman said.

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