HOME Secretary Suella Braverman insisted that Rwanda is a “safe” country to send refugees after being shown evidence of an incident where asylum seekers were shot at by government authorities.

On the BBC’s Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg, Braverman was confronted with footage from an incident in 2018, verified by the broadcaster, which showed the aftermath of a refugee protest after their food rations were cut.

According to the public broadcaster, 12 people were shot and killed in the incident by the Rwandan authorities, and the United Nations, as well as eyewitnesses, confirmed that live rounds were fired during the incident.

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The Tories' migration plan was announced in April 2022, and found lawful by the High Court in December 2022.

It could see those who enter the UK without a visa or permission to enter the country sent over 4000 miles away to Rwanda to have their asylum claim processed there. 

However, the UK Government was forced to cancel the first flight attempting to take refugees out of the country after a successful legal challenge. 

During the lengthy interview, Braverman also appeared to renege on part of the agreement with Rwanda, stating that the UK would not take any refugees from the country, despite it being set out in the deal between the two nations.

Braverman was challenged by Kuenssberg to say if she still believed Rwanda was “safe” despite the evidence of the incident from 2013. Initially, Braverman said she was “not familiar” with the particular case.

After detailing the incident and showing footage, Kuenssberg asked: “Are you sure still, that it is safe to send refugees to Rwanda?

“And I suppose the point here is, if something went terribly wrong, would you end the arrangement with that country, would you say okay, you know what, that was a mistake, bring people back?”

Braverman replied: “Well, as I said, that might be 2018, we're looking at 2023 and beyond.”

The Home Secretary added that the High Court found the Rwanda deal to be lawful, and the country a safe place to send refugees.

She said: “Rwanda, from which I've just returned, takes 100,000 refugees are resettles them, and I met some of them in Rwanda on my recent visit from countries in the region.

“They have nothing but gratitude and thanks for Rwanda for the resettlement scheme that Rwanda has put on for as I say over 100,000 people who are fleeing persecution, fleeing conflict.”

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Braverman insisted Rwanda has a track record of successful resettlement of refugees and asylum seekers.

“I think that, as well strong ground to say that Rwanda is a safe country, it is the right 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, the same time being a deterrent to those seeking a life in the UK.,” she added.

Kuenssberg pointed out that the UN has said Rwanda is not a safe place for Refugees. Braverman in response cited the High Court ruling, currently being appealed by the UN, and said she “sides with the court”.

She added: “Ultimately, they heard out, they listened to the United Nations in evidence in this hearing.

The National: Braverman insisted Rwanda is a 'safe' country to send asylum seekersBraverman insisted Rwanda is a 'safe' country to send asylum seekers (Image: PA)

“They disagreed with the United Nations' assessment, the United Nations continues to work with Rwanda to resettle thousands of people every year in Rwanda, regardless of those concerns.

“So in my view, and in the view of the court, and the view of 100,000 people who are already in Rwanda, Rwanda is a safe country. It is appropriate for our purposes to work in partnership.”

Braverman was asked if something like the 2013 incident occurred, would the UK Government end the policy?

She said: “What I will also say is our legislation makes provision for those extreme circumstances whereby if there is something unforeseeable, serious and irreversible harm, someone would be able to challenge the decision.

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"We consider that to be a very outside chance, a very extreme situation, but there's always allowance in the legislation to allow for that.”

Asked if the UK would stick to the part of the agreement to resettle some of Rwanda’s most vulnerable refugees and how many, the Home Secretary said that she didn’t “foresee that happening”.

Probed on why the UK would sign up to take refugees from Rwanda if it had no intention of doing so, Braverman appeared to suggest the scheme was a one-way street.

“The arrangement is very clear on a balance and overwhelmingly Rwanda will be taking people from the United Kingdom, not the other way around,” she said.

Braverman previously told the Tory party conference it would be "her dream" to see an asylum seeker flight to Rwanda take off.