Rwanda receives 123 more African refugees from Libya

Friday October 11 2019

The second group of the 500 African refugees and asylum seekers from Libya who will be temporarily hosted in Rwanda arrive at the Kigali International Airport in Rwanda on October 10, 2019. PHOTO | COURTESY | CYRIL NDEGEYA | UNHCR RWANDA


Rwanda received the second batch of African refugees from Libya on Thursday night .

The group of of 123 refugees are part of the 500 African refuges Rwanda agreed to host under an MoU with UNHCR and African Union signed last month.

They will join another group of 66 refugees who arrived in Kigali late last month, in a move that has seen Rwanda garner international praise for offering temporary respite for refugees from “dangerous and alarming conditions in Libya,” according to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR).

Thursday’s evacuation included migrants from three Libyan detention centers - Al Sabhaa, Abu Selim, and Tariq al Sikka - mostly comprised of Eritreans and Somalis.

Around 80 people in the group had been scheduled to be hosted in Niger, but were redirected to Rwanda after a delay in their travel.

The refugees that arrived in Kigali are young, between the ages of 14 and 20 including three minors and 24 women, according to the Rwanda's Ministry of Emergency.


One Sudanese refugee who survived an airstrike that hit the Tajura Refugees Detention Center in Tripoli, in July, which killed 53 people and injured 100 others.

President Paul Kagame said that the motivation behind hosting African refugees comes from “providing Africans with decent alternatives.”

“They (refugees) will live like our citizens, we don’t give too much because we don’t have too much but whatever we have, we share and we live decent lives,” he said on Thursday during the Youth Connect Summit in Kigali.

“That is the arrangement under which this thing has been done and anybody can do it, any other country can do it. We just felt we needed to exercise the possibility we had to do things decently and provide a decent life to these people.”

The arrivals are part of the 500 refugees that Rwanda pledged to receive from Libya under the framework of the Emergency Transit Mechanism signed in September between Rwanda, UNHCR and the African Union.

“The Emergency Transit Mechanism aims at providing life-saving protection, assistance and long-term solutions to extremely vulnerable refugees trapped in detention in Libya, through temporary evacuation to Rwanda,” a statement by the Ministry of Emergency Management reads.

The new arrivals will also be live in the Gashora Refugees Transit Centre in Bugesera District, eastern Rwanda, which seats on 26 hectares and has the capacity to host around 500 refugees.

They have the options to eventually resettle in a third country - possibly in Europe or North America; return to their country of origin or become Rwandan citizens.

“A heartfelt thanks to the generosity of the government of Rwanda and the Rwandan people, 189 refugees and asylum seekers evacuated from Libya are now safe in the Gashora Transit Center while solutions are sought. Thanks for the big heart,” UNHCR Rwanda said in a statement.