The African Union revealed that arrangements are underway to transfer thousands of migrants sheltering in Libya to Rwanda, based on an agreement signed between the Union, Rwanda and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Tunisian As-Sabah News reported on Friday.
Under the agreement signed on September 10, 2019, the UN seeks to move migrants and refugees living in dire conditions in Libya’s detention centers to a location offering better livelihood. UNHCR provides support to more than 55,000 migrants in Libya, including 4,700 people who are “in urgent need of transportation for their safety,” according to a statement by the African Union.
The first stage of the relocation of illegal migrants and refugees from Libya to Rwanda will be moving 500 people originating from the countries of the Horn of Africa, including children and youth.
After their arrival in Rwanda, UNHCR will seek ways to ensure their stay in Rwanda or, if the authorities there agree, to settle them in other countries. Repatriating them to their countries of origin would also be an option, provided such a move does not compromise the repatriated people’s safety.
The herculean task is not free from obstacles. The African Union noted that since the signing of the tripartite agreement with UNHCR and Rwanda, only 190 people have been transferred from Libya to Rwanda in two phases over the past three years.
On the other hand, UNHCR has managed to evacuate more than 4,400 people from Libya to other countries since 2017, including 2,900 through the emergency transit mechanism in Niger and 425 to European countries through the emergency transit center in Romania.