Braverman admits she didn't know refugees were shot at in Rwanda

today insisted is a ‘safe’ place to send migrants – although she admitted she wasn’t aware refugees had previously been shot at by the country’s police.

The Home Secretary defended the Government’s plans to send those who come to Britain illegally on a one-way ticket to the African nation despite being challenged over a 2018 incident.

In an interview with the ‘s Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg show, Mrs Braverman was grilled about allegations that a protest by a group of refugees five years ago was responded to by the firing of live rounds.

The refugees’ demonstration over food rations ended in the killing of 12 people, the Home Secretary heard, as she was shown footage of the aftermath of the 2018 case.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees has previously condemned violence at the Kiziba refugee camp in western Rwanda, Webcam Sex which houses thousands of people from the neighbouring Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Mrs Braverman conceded she was ‘not familiar’ with the incident having earlier said she was ‘convinced it is safe to send refugees to Rwanda’.

The Home Secretary vowed to press ahead with the Rwanda policy, following the striking of a £120million agreement with Kigali last April.

Suella Braverman admitted she wasn’t aware refugees had previously been shot at by police in Rwanda

The Home Secretary was shown footage of the aftermath of the 2018 incident in the African country

Mrs Braverman was grilled about United Nations allegations that a protest by a group of refugees five years ago was responded to by the firing of live rounds

‘That might be 2018, we’re looking at 2023 and beyond,’ Mrs Braverman said.

‘The High Court – senior expert judges – have looked into the detail of our arrangements with Rwanda and found it to be a safe country and found our arrangements to be lawful.

‘Rwanda, from where I have just returned, takes 100,000 refugees and resettles them.

‘I met some of them in Rwanda, on my recent visit, from countries in the region.

‘They had nothing but gratitude and thanks for Rwanda for the resettlement scheme that Rwanda has put on, for over 100,000 people who are fleeing persecution, fleeing conflict.

‘They have a track record of successfully resettling and integrating people who are refugees or asylum seekers.

‘I think we are on strong ground to say Rwanda is a safe country, it is the right for solution for us grappling with our small boats problem.

‘And I believe it will strike the right balance of providing a humanitarian package of support for people who are refugees, at the same time as being a deterrent to those seeking a life in the UK.’ 

The Home Secretary acknowledged there was a provision for asylum seekers to challenge having been sent to Rwanda under her plans should ‘extreme circumstances’ occur.

She also failed to rule out Britain accepting refugees from Rwanda under the terms of the arrangement with Kigali – although Mrs Braverman insisted the ‘balance and the reality’ of the deal would be ‘Rwanda taking people from the UK’.

Despite the asylum deal with Rwanda being struck almost a year ago, no migrants have yet been sent to the African country from Britain.

The Rwanda agreement is part of ministers’ efforts to stem the number migrants coming to Britain across the Channel, following Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s pledge to ‘stop the boats’. 

Mrs Braverman this morning refused to commit to migrant flights to Rwanda beginning by this summer, despite previous suggestions that’s when they could start.

‘We are making very steady progress.I am not going to give a deadline as to when flights will take off,’ she told Sky News’ Sophy Ridge on Sunday show in an earlier TV interview.

Mrs Braverman also refused to confirm reports that ministers are close to signing a contract with Portland Port Authority over ‘floating accommodation’ for asylum seekers.

The Home Secretary defended herself amid criticism of the Government’s proposed new laws to reduce Channel migrant crossings.

‘I see my role as Home Secretary as getting results, ultimately; taking action for the British people,’ she said.

‘I see myself as telling the truth for the British people to the British people.

‘I see myself as being a voice for the law-abiding, patriotic often silent majority.

‘I see myself being heavily informed by the people in my constituency in Fareham who just want us to stop the boats, who want to see common-sense policing, who want to keep the British people safe.

‘That’s my objective as Home Secretary and if the BBC or various celebrities are offended, then so be it.’

Labour’s shadow levelling up secretary Lisa Nandy dismissed the idea of her party keeping the Government’s Rwanda scheme as she suggested it would never become reality.

She told the BBC: ‘I don’t think we’re ever going to be in the situation where we have to dismantle this because I don’t think it’s real, just like the barges that the Home Secretary promised this week that it turns out didn’t exist.

‘This is just yet another way of distracting from the fact that they’re only processing 1 per cent of the asylum claims of people who arrived last year.

‘The reason that our hotels are full is because they haven’t got a grip on the asylum system, they aren’t processing claims and they haven’t got a returns agreement with France.

‘That’s what we would do.We’d set up a cell to tackle the criminal gangs working across borders. We’d process our asylum claims swiftly and we’d get a grip on the asylum system.’

Ms Nandy claimed the Home Secretary should be ‘ashamed of herself for touring the TV studios making more and more bold claims when she can’t even do the basics of her own job’.