Asylum Partnership AgreementOn April 14, 2022, the U.K. government and Rwanda entered into an agreement, that later became a five-year asylum partnership agreement. The agreement, officially titled “U.K.-Rwanda Migration and Economic Development Partnership,” will aim to provide asylum for immigrants traveling to the U.K. illegally, through relocation to Rwanda. As part of the agreement with Rwanda, officials will process refugees on entry into Rwanda, where they will receive a decision regarding their refugee status.

What Does the Agreement Entail?

U.K. Home Secretary Priti Patel and Rwanda’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Vincent Biruta signed the asylum partnership agreement, which falls under the Memorandum of Understanding. The decision to strike an agreement with Rwanda came about as a result of the U.K.’s new immigration policy, which intends to counteract illegal immigration. “The consultation showed public support for the need to disrupt the criminal activity that underpins illegal migration.”

Rwanda will receive financial support from the U.K. government to accommodate and process refugees. According to the House of Commons Library “…the U.K. is providing £120 million funding to Rwanda. It will also pay for the processing and integration costs for each relocated person.”

Is the Agreement Necessary?

The two states signed the agreement in response to the migrant crisis affecting much of Europe in recent times. They intend to provide a safer, more manageable system to combat illegal immigration into the U.K.

It is anticipated that approximately 60,000 people are set to travel across the English Channel by the end of 2022. This figure is more than double in comparison with last year’s 28,526 people crossing the Channel in small boats. There was hope that schemes such as the partnership agreement would present a more viable option to combat future illegal immigration. However, “14,728 people have arrived since the government launched the Rwanda policy,” according to BBC.

Questions Over Suitability of the Deal and Its Potential Impact on Poverty

Many raised notable questions over the suitability and practicality of Rwanda serving as the representative country to accommodate refugees. Significant concern from U.K. officials regarding the asylum partnership agreement with Rwanda has manifested from numerous documents submitted to a high court hearing earlier this year.

A key point raised questions over Rwanda’s human rights status. Rwanda is one of the 14 countries presenting substantial issues in relation to asylum systems and human rights.

Concerns regarding the impact the agreement may have upon refugees traveling to Rwanda and the communities that they could settle in have been a prevalent talking point. Treatment of refugees arriving in Rwanda remains an issue from a human rights perspective, as suppression of freedom of speech, detention and even torture are common practices.

Economically, Rwanda has seen steady progress in recent times, with the country aiming to become a middle-income nation by 2035. However, according to The World Bank, with its poverty percentage standing at 55% in 2017, it may represent a difficult beginning for many refugees. The refugees that could face relocation to Rwanda will indeed discover this and with the right to leave Rwanda available to thousands of them, it has the potential to cause chaos and increase the strain on aid agencies working to combat poverty within Rwanda and across Africa.

The Ethical and Legal Challenges of the Agreement

At this current time, the agreement appears to be shrouded in controversy and indifference due to human rights concerns. The inaugural flight carrying asylum seekers destined for Rwanda should have departed on June 14, 2022. However, the European Court of Human Rights'(ECHR) late intervention successfully halted the first wave of deportations. Prime minister Boris Johnson condemned the ECHR’s decision and threatened to revoke the U.K.’s participation in the convention.

The asylum partnership agreement with Rwanda was met with a considerable outcry in the lead-up to June 14 and efforts to disrupt and put an end to the agreement were voiced in the form of organized protests. The UNHCR commented on the agreement, stating “They should not be traded like commodities and transferred abroad for processing.”

With the considerable legal battles looming over the asylum partnership agreement, any effort to relocate migrants to Rwanda as part of the agreement will not take place before late autumn at the earliest. The next landmark step in the ongoing developments of the agreement will take place on September 5, when a judicial review will take place at London’s High Court to determine the legality of the agreement.

– Jamie Garwood
Photo: Flickr

Student Scholarships in the United KingdomNowadays, many universities look to promote cultural diversity and provide opportunities for high-achieving disadvantaged students who face challenges in accessing higher education in a foreign country. Through international student scholarships in the United Kingdom, British universities are able to provide disadvantaged international students opportunities to study abroad. The number of fully funded scholarships that British universities have given has increased in recent years. For example, the available scholarships went from 2,840 for the 2021-22 academic year to 3,310 for the 2022-23 academic year. This article will provide an overview of student scholarships in the United Kingdom while providing some examples.

Overview of International Student Scholarships in the United Kingdom

In 2022, more than 3,000 opportunities for student scholarships in the United Kingdom covered multiple levels of higher education degrees, supporting students from bachelor’s degrees up to master’s degrees and doctoral degrees. Many of those fully funded scholarships are open to students from all over the globe, without any discrimination and exclusion, which could give the British universities a diverse, global academic environment and help more people from varying cultural backgrounds reach for a better life.

Some scholarships in the U.K. aim to help those most in need and are specifically for students from low-income backgrounds. The British government provides some of those scholarships, like the Commonwealth Split-site Scholarships. Meanwhile, individual universities, like the UCL (University College London) Global Masters Scholarship, provide others.

Special Scholarships For Indian Students

In June 2022, the U.K., cooperating with businesses in India, announced 75 fully-funded one-year master’s program scholarships awarded to talented Indian students. It is worth noting that the year 2022 happens to be the 75th anniversary of India’s independence from the United Kingdom after shedding its colonial status. The scholarship covers the university’s tuition fees, the cost of transportation and the students’ daily expenses.

Chevening, the British government’s international awards scheme that provides many student scholarships in the U.K., has partnered with Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC) India to sponsor 15 of those 75 scholarships. HSBC India CEO Hitendra Dave believes that students receiving the money all have the potential to become leading stars in different fields.

Special Scholarships to Assist Ukrainian Students

The armed conflicts between Ukraine and Russia has severely affected the learning process of many university students in Ukraine. Under such circumstances, the University of Edinburgh has generously started implementing a pilot program for a sanctuary scholarship scheme that aims to aid students during conflicts.

The pilot program directly helps Ukrainian doctoral students whose study activities cannot carry on normally due to the war. The program “will enable students to study in Edinburgh, make short visits to the city, or receive support and mentoring to continue their research studies in their own country.”

In 2021, the U.K. ranked 10th on the list of countries providing financial support for international students. Through international student scholarships in the United Kingdom, disadvantaged students across the world have the opportunity to study at renowned institutions. With this high-quality tertiary education, these students are able to secure skilled jobs that pay well and enable them to improve their living standards.

– Ella Li
Photo: Flickr

POVERTY IN THE UNITED KINGDOMThe United Kingdom has a population of approximately 68 million people, many of whom are struggling to make ends meet and live in poverty. As of the parliament’s most recent studies in 2022, nearly one in five people live in poverty in the United Kingdom.

The Issue of Poverty

The issue of poverty has been a problem that has long plagued the United Kingdom. Many of these issues can be attributed to a decade of public service cuts. This has pushed many families to the brink of poverty and many others into poverty.

As of 2021, the poverty rate among working households is as high as it has ever been in Britain. Due to steadily increasing property prices, private sector rent hikes and record childcare costs, working families are adopting unhealthy lifestyles and using high-cost credit to pay off debts.

Right Reverend Rose Hudson-Wilkin, a member of IPPR’s welfare state advisory panel states that these families “are trying as hard as they can but still finding it impossible to feed their families and provide a safe roof over their heads,” the Big Issue reports.

Many of these factors are financially related, such as spiraling housing costs among low-income households, as well as low wages and modest pay rises, according to The Guardian. Other factors are systemically based, such as a constant lack of flexible as well as affordable childcare and a social security system that has proven unable to keep up with rising rental costs. Families who are unable to buy a home have to rent from private landlords. These systemic issues affect them the worst due to a benefits system that rewards landlords as opposed to its citizens.

The Impact on Children

According to The Children Society of the United Kingdom, 4.3 million children live in poverty in the United Kingdom, as of 2021. These children are less likely to have a strong support system around them, due to their guardians devoting their energy to surviving with the few resources they have. This could put these children at an increased risk of homelessness, addiction and exploitation by criminal gangs, according to the Big Issue.


Most experts agree that the key to reducing the poverty rate in the United Kingdom is reforming the welfare system. The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) feels that “without long-term reforms, the government will face a perpetual choice between paying constantly rising social security bills or allowing the number of working families in poverty to increase unchecked, as is currently the case,” the Big Issue reports.

Thankfully, there are numerous organizations that are hard at work to ensure that the cycle of poverty in the United Kingdom comes to an end. The organization at the forefront of that fight is Oxfam. Since its establishment in 1942 it has been committed to “a kinder, fairer world – a world less divided by borders, money, race or gender” said Oxfam’s CEO Dhananjayan Sriskandarajah.

In the year 2021 alone, Oxfam assisted 12.8 million people who were at risk or facing poverty. With these far-reaching efforts in the face of such daunting statistics and the continued fight of the British people, the future of the United Kingdom appears much brighter than in recent memory.

– Austin Hughes
Photo: Flickr

Education for Girls in Developing Countries
The U.K. has recently pledged to put £100 million towards education for girls in developing countries.

The initiative was announced at the Girls Education Forum in London, with a particular focus on the role that technology will play in reducing the number of girls unable to attend schools around the world. According to the BBC, the initiative will be dispersed mainly across sub-Saharan Africa and will provide for smartcards (to monitor attendance and incentivize families) and satellite broadband (for internet connectivity in more rural areas).

Education’s Effects

The chair of the Global Partnership for Education, Julia Gillard, praised the initiative to the BBC and said, “When we educate girls, we see reduced child deaths, healthier children and mothers, fewer child marriages and faster economic growth.”

The pledge comes as a follow-up to Britain’s Girls Education Challenge. The challenge, launched in 2012, aims to give £300 million to 37 projects in 18 countries to ensure that girls in developing countries have access to the education they need to rise up out of poverty.

Education for girls in developing countries is important for a variety of reasons. Aside from the moral obligation to give girls the opportunity to take advantage of their right to an education, educating women and girls has proven economic and sociological impacts.

Female Empowerment

According to UNICEF, gross domestic product per capita increases with the enrollment of girls in primary school. Educated girls also learn the skills they need to make healthier life decisions, both for themselves and for their future families. Mothers are also much more likely to send their daughters to school if they too received an education, so providing girls with schooling increases the prospects of future generations.

This pledge comes on the heels of a similar initiative to increase access to education for girls: the iMlango program. Since its inception, the program has provided Android tablets, broadband internet, and interactive learning tools to 195 schools in Kenya.

IMlango has been touted as a success, increasing attendance in schools by 15%, and officials hope that the new initiative will create similar results. Girls across the world depend on organizations and programs such as these to boost not only their education, but their quality of life as well; thankfully, it seems that these females are in very capable hands.

Sabrina Santos

Photo: Pixabay

People across all nations are asking about the impact of Brexit on the world, but only a few are asking the very important question of, “What will be Brexit’s impact on Africa?” As powerful countries such as the U.S. and Germany wait anxiously for the final vote count, anticipating possible financial fallout, the third world has much larger concerns, especially Africa.

Brexit Implications on Africa: Humanitarian, Political and Economic

Whether or not there will be a recession in Britain following the country’s exit from the EU is unclear, but what is certain is that if an economic crisis does occur, Africa will be hit hard.

Great Britain has long been a strong trading ally for Africa, and according to The Chicago Tribune, the European Union has preferential trade agreements with every African country except for Libya and South Sudan.

Due to the Brexit, British officials will now have to rewrite many of their trade agreements with African nations, which will take extensive time and manpower. However, this could prove to be fruitful for Africa, as strict regulations such as the Common Agricultural Policy — set in place by the EU will no longer apply to trade legislation.

According to the European Commission, the Common Agricultural Policy is an EU initiative aimed at invigorating “agricultural productivity, so that consumers have a stable supply of healthy food”. Part of this policy grants subsidies to European farmers to promote sustainable agriculture and the growth of healthy food.

BBC reports that African farmers feel as though the subsidies attached to the Common Agricultural Policy “undermine the concept of a level playing field”. The U.K. agrees with their African allies and adamantly fought for policy reformation before their exit. Brexit’s impact on Africa will not only be economic, for it will also influence the political and humanitarian realm.

The U.K. and Aid to Africa

Prior to the U.K.’s decision to leave the European Union, it had incredible authority over the EU’s political and humanitarian initiatives in Africa.

The European Development Fund, according to the Chicago Tribune, is “the European Union’s main vehicle for providing development aid to Africa”. Britain was a leading voice in dictating the mission of the fund, as the third biggest contributor at 14 percent.

Even more impressive was the U.K.’s power over the African Peace Facility and its backing of the African Union Mission in Somalia. Britain made sure that the EU paid for 90 percent of the program, a 22,000-strong multinational force that protects the Somali Federal Government from the extremist militant group al-Shabab.

Before the Brexit, Britain was already beginning to lose their battle over policy in Somalia as the rest of the EU voted to pull some funding, hinting at a divided opinion about African aid.

The future of European policy in Africa is ambiguous, as one of the continent’s most passionate advocates is no longer a member of the EU. While this may seem like troubling news for Africa, the Brexit could turn out to be a blessing for the entire region.

The U.K. will no longer be held back by the EU’s restrictive guidelines as it applies to foreign policy and unless recession strikes Britain’s economy, it is likely that they will stay true to their promise of providing 0.7 percent of their gross national income to African aid.

Liam Travers

Photo: Public Domain Images

Kenya Ivory
An estimated 5,000 Kenyans will receive $4,000 in remunerations from the British government as victims of the Mau Mau Rebellion in the 1950s.

Around 90,000 Kenyans were detained and tortured during British colonial occupation. Only the living survivors of the Mau Mau rebellion are eligible for receiving the financial apology.

In addition to the British recompense, the U.K. will also construct a memorial honoring the victims in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi.

Up until 2003, Mau Mau veterans were not allowed to address grievances regarding the atrocities they underwent during the rebellion. The Kenyan Human Rights Commission organized the Mau Mau Veterans Association, which fought to gain recognition of the atrocities.

Hiring the UK-based firm, Leigh Day, five individuals of the Veterans Association won a case against the British government and settled with $21 million.

The British government initially claimed that the Veterans Association’s claims were not eligible since the aforementioned atrocities were dealt during colonial times.

Other claims will not be so successful due to legal costs and not enough insurmountable evidence — many colonial files and records were destroyed during the ending period of the British Empire.

Kenya was partitioned by European powers along with the rest of East Africa during the 1885 Berlin Conference. The British entered Kenya in the early 1900s. Without political clout and claims to their own land, a guerilla group called the Mau Mau led an uprising.

Between 1952-1960, a State of Emergency was proclaimed by the British colonists due to an increase in the attack on their people and “property.” Soon the wider Kenyan population became embroiled in the conflict and was sent to detention camps wherein general torture — the castration of two men and sexual assault against women — ensued.

An op-ed criticizes the British government for not doing more to address grievances of the Mau Mau veterans. The postcolonial administration saw the entrance of colonists’ children in high governmental positions—often well-educated in comparison to many Kenyans living in poverty. The author posits that the British government should provide scholarships and higher education opportunities to Mau Mau veteran families.

Whether the British government has or has not done enough to recognize its past atrocities, it is nevertheless a step in acknowledging that the human dignity of many individuals were wrongfully disregarded during Kenya’s colonial history.

Miles Abadilla

Sources: BBC, Daily Mail, The Economist, The International

Ending World Hunger Demanded By BritonsBritish politicians, including MP Andrew Stunell, are pushing the United Kingdom’s Prime Minister David Cameron to focus more on ending world hunger. Stunell and others have begun making their voices heard by supporting causes like the Enough Food for Everyone initiative.

The U.K., like the United States, committed to giving 0.7% of its national income as international aid. Politicians and citizens in the U.K. continue to stress the importance of keeping that promise. As Britain prepares to host the Hunger Summit this June, at the same time as the G8 Summit, the nation has been paying increased attention to the issue of world hunger and the U.K.’s roll in fighting hunger as well as the many causes of hunger and malnutrition. The most obvious result of hunger and malnutrition is death, yet severe hunger has many other results such as malnutrition that may lead to developmental and growth problems and is also linked to infertility, as outlined in a Yale study on hunger and childbirth.

With enough food being produced each year to feed the world population and yet people are still going hungry, there is reason enough to be upset. As politicians and citizens alike in the U.K. push their representatives to work more towards ending world hunger, we should remember to do the same here at home and ask our elected representatives to do more in the fight against global hunger. Contact your representatives in Congress today.

– Kevin Sullivan

Sources: Mancunian Matters, Yale Scientific
Photo: The Telegraph

Does International Aid Help Or Not?
In the never-ending debate about whether international aid helps or not, Al-Jazeera’s Counting the Cost gets four experts’ insight. Will Ruddick, a young scholar at the Institute of Leadership and Sustainability who has spent time in Kenya, argues that such resource-rich countries might not need as much as 300 million dollars in food aid every year. He argues that it’s not the aid itself, it’s the Western economic model which has been proven inefficient when it comes to international aid and development.

Ruddick thinks that a new economic model is needed, one that’s similar to the Swiss model, where there are monetary innovations to reach the goals of sustainable development. He says that micro-finance lending and entrepreneurial models are causing more social stratification thereby amounting to more debt. Ruddick suggests policies that move to something that creates more networks and communities, an implementation that involves the local affected and recipient communities.

In Keyna, there is a wide dependence on anti-retroviral drugs for HIV as opposed to development. Ruddick argues that there should be more of a push from international aid organizations to help these people develop the needed drugs locally; aid and development aren’t necessarily linked. Networks must be encouraged and created to help local people help each other. According to Ruddick, Kenya is exporting 3 billion dollars worth of food to Europe, and yet every year, with the consistency of food aid to Kenya, people are still underfed and starving.

In Jerusalem, Palestine, Dr. Nora Murad argues that “aid” is subsidizing the Israeli occupation that it’s allowing the Israeli army to occupy cost-free because every time a road, a school, or a hospital is destroyed, the international community pays for it rather than have the Israeli army replace it. Thus, in places like Palestine, the international community needs to politically intervene to better implement any aid that goes to Palestine. “The Israeli occupation costs the Palestinian economy 6.8 billion dollars per year,” Dr. Murad argues. She also argues that recipients of aid, in her case she’s talking about Palestinian communities specifically, should have control over their own development resources and be able to make development decisions.

Alan Duncan, the British minister of state in the department of international development, argues that they don’t deal directly with untrusted governments, they focus on the “real economies” of “real people,” that they are the “engine of development,” and such a development is precisely what his department is pushing for. He explains that the private sector is so important and that the existent aid model isn’t flawed, and that they “underpin the basic building blocks of an agricultural economy,” to help the underdeveloped internal economy of Africa. In regards to Palestine, he says that the kind of aid that goes to Palestine is to equip the Palestinian Authority to be a future government, the development is thus working in such specific political circumstances.

The head of development finance and public services at Oxfam, Emma Seery, comments by saying that her organization is more focused on development than aid, they focus on policies in an effort to put an end to extreme inequality. So the question is this: we know that foreign aid helps, and that poor countries are appreciative of this gift but are the right policies being implemented to sustain growth and development? Is there a need for a new more efficient economic model?

– Leen Abdallah

Source: Al Jazeera
Photo: Google