Over 130 Refugees and Asylum Seekers Evacuated from Libya Arrive in Rwanda

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In a significant development, a group of 134 refugees and asylum seekers, comprising the 14th batch of evacuees from Libya, safely arrived in Rwanda on Monday, June 12.

The Ministry in charge of Emergency Management revealed that the group consists of individuals from various nations, including Eritrea, Sudan, Somalia, Ethiopia, Cameroon, and Mali.

Upon their arrival at Kigali International Airport, the evacuees were greeted with relief and support.

They will be temporarily housed at the Gashora Transit Center in Bugesera District, where previous evacuees have also found refuge.

The collaboration between the Government of Rwanda, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and the African Union has been instrumental in establishing an Emergency Transit Mechanism (ETM).

This mechanism aims to provide essential protection, assistance, and long-term solutions for vulnerable refugees and asylum seekers trapped in Libya.

By facilitating temporary evacuations to Rwanda, individuals can escape the dire circumstances they face in Libya.

Since 2019, Rwanda has demonstrated its commitment to supporting asylum seekers by hosting over 1,600 individuals.

The UNHCR has been actively working to find suitable solutions for these individuals, including relocation to third countries, repatriation to their home countries, or the possibility of remaining in Rwanda as citizens.

The current agreement, which expires in December 2023, may be extended due to the ongoing challenges faced by asylum seekers in Libya.

The UNHCR Rwanda’s spokesperson, Lilly Carlisle, expressed the agency’s intention to extend the agreement in an interview with The New Times in April.

The Emergency Transit Mechanism (ETM) was initially established in 2019 and subsequently renewed in 2021 to provide a safe haven for asylum seekers who have endured treacherous journeys and unsuccessful attempts to reach Europe by crossing the Mediterranean Sea.

The latest group of evacuees, consisting of Eritreans (64), Sudanese (35), Somalis (15), Ethiopians (17), two Cameroonians, and one Malian, marks the 14th batch of arrivals since the evacuation operation commenced in 2019.

Their safe arrival in Rwanda brings hope for a brighter future for these individuals who have endured immense hardship.