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Rwanda prepares to receive first group of Libyan asylum seekers

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In the next few days, Rwanda will receive the first group of 75 African refugees from Libya out of some 500 asylum seekers.

The Rwandan ministry of Emergency Management and Refugee Affair said the first group of 75 who are expected in Rwanda in the next few days will be transferred to Gashora, a village located at about 40 kilometres from Kigali in South Eastern Rwanda where their settlements was established.

The move comes after Rwanda, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), and the African Union (AU) signed earlier this month a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to set up a transit mechanism for evacuating refugees and asylum seekers out of Libya.

According to the agreement, Rwanda will receive and provide protection to refugees and asylum-seekers, as well as others identified as particularly vulnerable and at-risk, who are currently being held in detention centres in Libya, and they will be transferred to safety in Rwanda on a voluntary basis.

In 2017, Rwandan Government made the commitment following damning revelations that tens of thousands of people from across Africa were not only stranded in Libya after their failed bid to reach Europe but many of them were being subjected to slavery.

Estimates by the United Nations indicate that almost 5 000 migrants are in detention in Libya, about 70 percent of whom are refugees and asylum seekers, with most of them having been subjected to different forms of abuse.

Thousands of migrants are being held in government-run detention centres in Libya, according to humanitarian agencies in the Northern Africa region.

Scores have died over the past few years while trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea to European countries in hope for better lives.


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