At least 123 African refugees will arrive in Rwanda this evening where they will be transported to Gashora Emergency Transit Mechanism Centre in Bugesera, to bring the total number of refugees evacuated to Rwanda to 312.
According to the Ministry of Emergency Management (MINEMA), the 3rd Evacuation of 123 asylum seekers from Libya is planned to land in Kigali tonight at about 20h45 (8:45 pm).
The 1st evacuation of 66 came on 26th September 2019 and the 2nd evacuation of 123 on 10th October 2019.
The development comes few days after the European Union (EU) announced a €10.3 million support fund for life-saving refugee support measures aimed at evacuating about 4, 700 African immigrants and refugees who are stuck in detention centres in Libya.
Earlier this week, during his visit to Rwanda, the Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development at the EU, Neven Mimica announced a €10.3 million support package which will be channelled through the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR).
The money will go towards supporting the Emergency Transit Mechanism (ETM) in Rwanda, which provides a life-saving avenue out of Libya for people in need of international protection, with a view to their further resettlement.
The funding is provided through the Emergency Trust Fund for Africa. This initiative builds on the example of the ETM Niger, through which more than 2,900 refugees and asylum seekers have been evacuated out of Libya since 2017.
“The Emergency Transit Mechanism in Rwanda is a vital life-saving measure to bring people in need of international protection out of Libya. It is an important sign of African solidarity and of partnership with the European Union,” said Federica Mogherini, the High Representative/Vice-President of EU.
“It broadens the support to the most vulnerable people held in Libyan detention centres that need to be closed urgently,” she added.
On his part, Commissioner Mimica said that the EU is committed to support the efforts of the Government of Rwanda to provide protection for the refugees who are living in precarious conditions in the North African country.
“This project will support efforts of the Government of Rwanda to receive and provide protection to about 1,500 refugees and asylum-seekers who are currently being held in detention centres in Libya,”
“Such a remarkable and powerful proof of African solidarity should be further encouraged, replicated and supported,” Commissioner Mimica said.
The UNHCR has evacuated more than 4,250 refugees and asylum-seekers out of Libya to other countries since 2017.
However, around 4,700 people are currently estimated to be held in dire conditions inside detention centres in the country. They urgently need to be moved to safety and to be provided with protection, lifesaving assistance, and durable solutions.
Following the escalation in and around Tripoli, namely the July air strike on a migrant detention centre, the EU continues to support the vital work of the Gathering and Departure Facility on location.
The EU is also supporting the UNHCR’s increased efforts to transfer to Tripoli the most vulnerable people in need of international protection from conflict areas where they are at risk, pending their evacuation outside of Libya.
Rwanda has committed to take in at least 500 refugees at any given time as the UNHCR, African Union, EU and other partners look for a solution. The evacuation to Rwanda is temporary with the refugees having the option of going back to home countries or being taken to a third country.
Rwanda has also offered to take in those who are willing to formalise their stay in Rwanda. The Norwegian government has also offered over €5m to support the process.
The Permanent Secretary of MINEMA Olivier KAYUMBA, told KT Press, that “Gashora transit centre hosting refugees and asylum seekers evacuated from Libya is well equipped for the existing 183 refugees and asylum seekers.”
Kayumba also said, that the camps ” is well equipped for the 123 arriving on 24th November, 2019. The Gashora Transit Centre is undergoing further renovations to increase its capacity to receive the remaining 188 refugees and asylum seekers.”
For their resettlement (Relocation) as well as other related supports, Kayumba said, the engagements are on going between different partners as well as countries working on effective implementation of emergency Transit Mechanism. The exercise is led by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)