I stayed at Rwanda migrant hotel with swimming pool and kids’ club – it’s branded 'inhumane' but people love it here | The Sun

THE Sun yesterday toured a Rwandan asylum camp branded “inhumane” by British campaigners – and found it is more like a holiday resort.

Gashora Transit Centre, which may be used to process Channel migrants, features a suite of mod-cons, air-conditioned rooms, an all-you-can-eat buffet and stunning countryside views.

It even has football pitches, basketball courts, pool tables, free Wi-Fi – and a fully-equipped kids’ club.

Our findings shatter flimsy claims that sending illegal migrants to the African nation would breach their human rights.

The first batch was due to go on Tuesday but won a last-minute reprieve after campaign groups including Care4Calais and Stop Deportations lobbied the European Court of Human Rights.

Last night, sources in Rwanda confirmed that none of the campaigners has actually visited the country’s facilities.


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Fares Riuyumbu, deputy manager at the Gashora camp, proudly showed it off to The Sun yesterday – and rejected the idea that residents are mistreated.

He said: “They have absolute freedom to come and go as they please. We provide everything they could require and more.

“Most of the people here have come from very difficult circumstances and we are very sensitive to their needs.

“I believe we provide a very high standard of living, a safe space where people can re-centre while a permanent solution is found for them.”

The Gashora centre, built on the site of an old scientific research lab in 2019, is nestled among £100,000 Mediterranean-style villas overlooking the lush countryside and banana plantations.

It features air-conditioned chalet blocks with brightly-painted balconies overlooking a stunning vista of Lake Gashora, a popular natural tourist attraction.

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The nearby Flower Garden hotel serves well-heeled visitors while local streets bustle with trendy young roller-bladers basking in the glorious equatorial sunshine.

Down the road is the Gashora Girls’ Academy of Science and Technology, which teaches the high-flying young women of tomorrow.

The pristine refugee centre is currently home to 457 Eritrean, Somali and Sudanese migrants – mainly men.

Most had gone to Libya in the hope of crossing the Med into Europe but ended up in oppressive detention centres.

The UN is running regular rescue missions and sending hundreds to the Rwandan centre for processing.

Most choose not to stay in Rwanda, believing they can achieve fame and fortune in the UK, Canada and other parts of Europe.

When The Sun visited yesterday, a group of migrants were taking part in a music therapy session in a smart building like a community hall.

Reem Jamiel, 26, was playing the piano and belting out Alysha Keyes’ hit Girl on Fire in front of a cheering audience.

She said: “This place is fantastic. They treat us really well. I find the music therapy sessions really fun.

“The accommodation is really nice and clean. The weather can get a bit warm, but I prefer it that way.

“I’m really happy I came here. There’s no reason for anyone to fear or reject this place.”

Asked if she would consider setting permanently in Rwanda, she said: “No offence to this place, but my dream is to go to Canada and become a pop star like Alysha Keyes.

“I feel like my chances of doing that are better in Canada or Europe.”

Other activities run at the centre include free driving lessons, a gym, TV rooms, access to newspapers and magazines, a modern health centre and educational classes.

A newly-finished residential complex on the site called the Ikaze Residence contains 30 self-contained three-bedroom apartments.

Residents are encouraged to clean up after themselves and change their own bedsheets, but staff are on hand if there are any issues.

The migrants get three meals a day cooked by a team of professional chefs and dished up in a self-service buffet.

Yesterday’s lunch menu included grilled chicken, rice, spaghetti, chips, fried bananas, salad, vegetables, watermelon and freshly-baked bread.

On Saturday they will have roast beef with rice, beans, vegetables, spaghetti, salad and pineapple.

Breakfast spreads include boiled eggs, doughnuts, cereal and freshly-baked bread and pastries.

Restaurant manager Martin Rutazigwa said: “The food here is delicious – I can say that with authority because I eat it myself! “Our head chef Mama makes an incredible bolognese sauce from scratch.

“We are always open to suggestions for new menu items and on a regular basis we give the refugees a chance to cook their speciality dishes.”

It is unclear whether the Gashora centre will be used for migrants from the UK, with Rwandan government sources offering conflicting guidance last night.

The centre’s deputy manager Fares Riuyumbu said: “We haven’t been told one way or the other, but we stand ready to assist the UK.”

Yesterday, Rwandan government spokesman Yolande Makolo criticised campaigners who have dismissed the country as inhumane.

She said: “Part of the narrative that’s out there is that Africa is a s***hole, for want of a better word, and it’s not true.

“It’s insulting to us, we live here and are working really hard to make this country work, we want to see Africa succeed.”

Another place in Rwanda where returning migrants will stay will be the Hope Hotel, a 50-room establishment in the capital city of Kigali.

They have been promised free cigarettes there, with gazebos in the garden.

The migrants will sleep in twin rooms, with double beds, colourful rugs and a set of slippers on side tables.

There are soaps and shower gels and even a suggestion box in the hallway where complaints can be recorded.

They will be served three meals a day cooked by a chef.

There are also sports facilities, including a volleyball pitch which is being built. 

This comes as PM Boris Johnson said he may rip up human rights rules — after a flight deporting migrants to Rwanda was blocked, following the move by an anonymous Euro judge.

The Government could even quit the European Court of Human Rights altogether.

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Ministers are raging that the court would not reveal the identity of the judge who made the decision at 10pm on Tuesday.

The flight had been given the go-ahead by three different British courts — triggering fresh alarm that Euro judges are stopping Britain from controlling its borders.

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