Rwanda received 176 more asylum seekers from Libya Friday, bringing the total number of evacuees to the country to 824 since the start of the exercise under the Emergency Transit Mechanism in September 2019.
This is the seventh evacuation flight to arrive in the country and will join 203 other evacuees currently hosted at the transit centre based in Bugesera pending resettlement to third countries, return to countries of origin or to reside in Rwanda, among other options.
So far, 462 of the evacuees were resettled to third countries, according to the ministry of emergency management (Minema).
“Since September, 2019, when the first group arrived, 648 individuals have been received and 462 among them were resettled to third countries,” the ministry said.
According to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), the Friday evacuation flight is the second to Rwanda this year, the first having taken place in July.
The agency indicates that humanitarian flights out of Libya had been blocked for most of the year largely because of the pandemic.
Rwanda, the African Union and UNHCR last month signed an addendum to the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) of the Emergency Transit Mechanism (ETM, extending the operation of the Gashora based Transit Centre to accommodate refugees, asylum seekers and other vulnerable people at risk in Libya until December 31, 2023.
Parties also agreed to expand the capacity of the transit facility from the initial capacity of 500 persons to accommodate 700 people.
UNHCR estimates that some 1,680 Persons of Concern are still trapped inside detention centres across Libya and urgently need to be evacuated to safety.
Evacuations are supported by the African Union which equally mobilises resources, and provides strategic political support with training and coordination, while UNHCR offers protection assistance and all relevant humanitarian support including food, water, and healthcare, among others.