Rwanda has signed a deal with the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) and the African Union (AU) to host hundreds of African migrants currently being held in Libya, in an exemplary humanitarian and selfless Ubuntu act.
According to a joint statement, “A first group of 500 people, predominantly from the Horn of Africa, will be evacuated, including children and youth at risk. After their arrival, UNHCR will continue to pursue solutions for the evacuees”.
“Under the agreement, the Government of Rwanda will receive and provide protection to refugees and asylum-seekers who are currently being held in detention centres in Libya. They will be transferred to safety in Rwanda on a voluntary basis” the statement read.
The evacuation flights for those who are willing to go to Rwanda are expected to commence in the coming weeks, with cooperation from Rwandan and Libyan authorities, and the African Union is expected to provide assistance, “strategic political support with training and coordination, and help to mobilise resources,” the statement added.
After their arrival, UNHCR said it will continue to pursue solutions for the evacuees.
Libya hosts hundreds of migrants who are part of thousands of desperate people who try to cross over the Mediterranean each year to reach Europe. Many of these who include women, and children fail to cross the treacherous sea, many die and others end up in detention centres.
According to the statement, “UNHCR has evacuated more than 4,400 refugees and asylum-seekers out of Libya to other countries since 2017, including 2,900 through the Emergency Transit Mechanism in Niger and 425 to European countries through the Emergency Transit Centre in Romania”.
“However, some 4,700 people are currently estimated to be held in dire conditions inside detention centres in Libya. They urgently need to be moved to safety and to be provided with protection, lifesaving assistance, and durable solutions”.
The UNHCR has urged the international community to contribute resources for the implementation of the agreement.