Refugee Protection and AAA and others (2023-4) | Panel 2: Borders, Racialisation, and Refugee Protection in Rwanda

Event date
29 November 2023
Event time
17:00 - 18:00
Oxford week
MT 8

Prof Michael Collyer

Dr Uttara Shahani

Dr Frank Habineza MP 

Dr Felix Ndahinda

Hosted by Border Criminologies and the Refugee Studies Centre (University of Oxford) with The Dickson Poon School of Law (King’s College London).

This series of panel discussions will examine the arguments advanced in R (on the application of AAA and others) v SSHD and analyse its implications for Rwanda, the UK, and for refugee protection more broadly.

Our panels bring together speakers whose expertise and experience makes them uniquely placed to explore the consequences of the Supreme Court’s judgement from a range of jurisdictional, institutional, political and legal perspectives.


Panel 2 Borders, Racialisation, and Refugee Protection in Rwanda

Chair: Nicola Palmer

  • Prof Michael Collyer (University of Sussex) and Dr Uttara Shahani (University of Oxford)
  • Dr Frank Habineza MP (Member of Rwandan Parliament 2018-2023 and Founding President of the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda)
  • Dr Felix Ndahinda (Researcher and Consultant)


Dr Frank Habineza

Frank Habineza has served as a Member of Parliament in Rwanda since September 2018 and the Vice President of the Social Affairs Committee. He was a Presidential Candidate in the 2017 Rwandan national elections, representing the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda and has chaired the African Greens Federation (, a coalition of political parties from 30 different countries based in Burkina Faso. He served as the Executive Director of this Federation from May 2018 - May 2019 and now acts as an Executive Advisor. Dr Habineza is an environmentalist, human rights, democracy and defence/security expert. He graduated from the National University of Rwanda in 2005 with a BA in Public Administration, followed by a Master of Science in politics and war studies at the Swedish Defence University in 2017. He was awarded an honorary doctorate of humanities in recognition of his work in democracy and human rights from Bethel College in Indiana, USA. Dr Habineza has been the National Coordinator for the Nile Basin Discourse Forum in Rwanda from 2006-2009. This is a civil society platform that has over 50 NGOs involved in the conservation of the river Nile, one of the 10 country programs of the Nile Basin Discourse, based in Entebbe, Uganda.


Dr Felix Mukwiza Ndahinda (Researcher and Consultant)

Felix Mukwiza Ndahinda is a researcher, consultant, Honorary Associate Professor at the University of Rwanda’s College of Arts and Social Sciences, and Research Advisor for the Research, Documentation, and Policy and Engagement (RDPE) at the Aegis Trust. He previously worked as an Assistant Professor at Tilburg Law School/Tilburg University in the Netherlands and as an Associate Legal Officer for the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. He holds a PhD from Tilburg University (2009) and an LLM from the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights (Sweden-2006). He has lectured and published extensively on the intersections of law and peace, conflict, and justice in Africa, with a focus on the Great Lakes Region.


Dr Uttara Shahani (University of Oxford)

Uttara Shahani is a historian. She has research interests in the history of colonial South Asia, partitions, refugee regimes, Sindh, and the Sindh diaspora.

She is a Departmental Lecturer at the Refugee Studies Centre, University of Oxford where she teaches on the postcolonial borders and forced migration and research methods courses.. Prior to this, she was a postdoctoral researcher working with Dr Anne Irfan at the Refugee Studies Centre on the British Academy-funded research project Borders, Global Governance and the Refugee, examining the historical origins of the global refugee regime with a focus on South Asia and Palestine.


Prof Michael Collyer (University of Sussex)

Michael Collyer is Professor of Geography at the University of Sussex. He currently directs the projects ‘Protracted Displacement Economies’ and ‘Making infrastructure work for the most marginalised’. His most recent book is Migration (2nd edition, with Michael Samers, Routledge, 2017). He chairs the Independent Advisory Group on Country of Origin Information, within the office of the UK’s Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration. He is also chair of Sanctuary on Sea, Brighton’s City of Sanctuary group. 

In April 2022, the UK Government and Rwanda entered into a Migration and Economic Development Partnership (MEDP) through a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). This political agreement seeks to enable the ‘transfer’, or forced removal, of asylum-seekers from the UK to Rwanda to have their claims determined there.

In May and June 2022, a group of asylum-seekers who arrived irregularly were told that their asylum claims were not going to be decided in the UK. Instead, they were to be removed to Rwanda to have their claims determined there, in accordance with Rwandan asylum law and procedure. Following the intervention of the European Court of Human Rights, no removals to Rwanda have taken place.

The appellants in AAA and others are asylum-seekers from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Vietnam, Sudan, and Albania and the charity, Asylum Aid. They challenge both the lawfulness of the Rwanda policy in general, and the decisions made in each individual case. On 29 June 2023 a majority of the Court of Appeal ruled that the Government’s plan to deport asylum-seekers to Rwanda was unlawful. The Supreme Court’s judgement on the appeal is expected in early 2024.