Rwanda receives 130 African asylum seekers from Libya

Thursday December 31 2020
Asylum seekers.

Rwanda received 130 more asylum seekers stranded in Libya on December 29, 2020. PHOTO | CYRIL NDEGEYA

By Ange Iliza

Rwanda has received 130 more asylum seekers who were stranded in Libya. They will stay in Rwanda until they are resettled in other countries – mainly in Europe and North America.

The asylum seekers, mainly from Somalia, Sudan, and Eritrea, also have the option of applying for Rwandan citizenship or returning to their country of origin.

The refugees were evacuated to Rwanda following months of suffering in Libya, where they were stuck after a failed bid to migrate to European countries.

After the reception, the new batch will be taken to a designated transit hotel for Covid-19 tests before joining others in Gashora Emergency Transit Centre.

The group which arrived on Tuesday evening is the fifth batch Rwanda has received since September 2019.

The group brings to 510 the total number of refugees evacuated to Rwanda.


Evacuated asylum seekers are accommodated temporarily at the Emergency Transit Center in Gashora and Bugesera located in eastern Rwanda.

The MoU signed between Rwanda, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the African Union expect Rwanda to receive 500 asylum seekers.

It was signed under the framework of the Emergency Transit Mechanism in September 2019. If the agreement is not renewed, the latest arrival could be the last one.

According to the Ministry of Emergency Management, more than 200 asylum seekers have already been resettled in other countries – mainly in Europe. Some 131 were resettled in Sweden, 23 in Canada, 46 in Norway, and five in France.

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

The initiative has gained Rwanda international praise for offering a temporary haven for refugees from “dangerous and alarming conditions in Libya,” according to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR).