Amid controversy over a deal to deport migrants from the United Kingdom to Rwanda, the Commonwealth Heads of Government Summit kicks off in Kigali on Friday.
The Commonwealth consists of 54 countries, including 15 kingdoms, most of which were former territories of the British Empire, with a population of 2.6 billion, representing one-third of humanity. The summit will be held on Fridays and Saturdays, but many heads of state or government have chosen to represent it. Neither Indian President Narendra Modi nor Australian Anthony Albaniso will take part in these discussions behind closed doors. Prince Charles, his mother, pays the first visit of a member of the royal family to Rwanda by Queen Elizabeth II, Commonwealth President. The Crown Prince will meet with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is advocating for a plan to send immigrants from the United Kingdom to Rwanda.
The plan has been condemned by several human rights NGOs. The Anglican Church described him as “inhumane.” Prince Charles also opposed it, personally describing it as “terrible”. Johnson, on the other hand, backed his plan in Rwanda on Thursday, stressing that “people need to know what the plan is, and critics of the plan need to know … Rwanda has undergone a complete transformation over the past two decades.” No immigrants have been deported under the scheme since the first flight to Kigali was grounded at the last minute on June 14 following a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights.
On Wednesday, the British government introduced a bill in parliament to allow the European Court of Human Rights to overrule human rights.
On the other hand, human rights organizations questioned the background to Rwanda’s choice to host the summit. In an open letter to Commonwealth heads of government, 23 human rights organizations have expressed their “deep concern”. It considered the Commonwealth to be threatening its credibility by holding its summit in Kigali.
Meanwhile, the DRC has called for the condemnation of Rwanda for its “occupation” of eastern Congo and its alleged support for the M23 rebel movement. Like Rwanda, Togo and Gabon will join the Commonwealth of Nations, although they have no historical ties to the United Kingdom. One of the challenges of this summit is the management of the company. Gamina Johnson Smith of Jamaica is running for the post of Secretary-General against the current British Dominican Patricia Scotland, despite the Commonwealth agreement that the incumbent should run for a second term without opposition. Smith enjoys the support of London.
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