132 asylum seekers in Rwanda after evacuation from Libya: UNCHR

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The asylum seekers come from various African countries, including Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan and South Sudan.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has said it has evacuated a group of 132 vulnerable asylum seekers from Libya to Rwanda.

“The group includes children and survivors of violence and torture,” the agency said in a statement released on social media on Wednesday.

“They remain in UNHCR’s Emergency Transit Mechanism facility in Gashora while sustainable solutions are sought for them,” it added.

According to local reports, the asylum seekers came from several African countries, including 74 Eritreans, 5 Ethiopians, 4 Somalis, 4 South Sudanese and 45 Sudanese.

The ministry responsible for disaster relief in Rwanda said the evacuees were received safely.

According to local media reports, this latest evacuation has increased the number of vulnerable refugees and asylum seekers assisted with flights from Libya to 8,296 since 2017.

In 2019, Rwanda agreed to take in hundreds of African refugees and asylum seekers held in detention centers in Libya under an agreement reached with the UN Refugee Agency and the African Union.

The agreement signed in September 2019 came after repeated allegations of appalling conditions for refugees and asylum seekers in Libya’s detention centers, including routine abuse, lack of medical care and insufficient food.

“We are desperate for solutions for those people,” Cosmas Chanda, UNHCR’s representative to the AU, said at a press conference in Addis Ababa, the seat of the pan-African body.

The Rwandan government had said it was willing to take in as many as 30,000 Africans from Libya. The plan is to unfold the process in groups of 500 people to avoid overwhelming the country.





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