First refugees and Asylum seekers from Libya safely arrived in Rwanda

Refugees and asylum seekers after clearance of their travel documents at Kigali International Airport

The first group of 66 refugees and asylum seekers out of 500 expected to be evacuated from Libya has arrived in Rwanda on 26th September, 2019 under the Emergency Transit Mechanism. After their arrival to Kigali International Airport, they have been accompanied to and accommodated in Gashora transit Centre located in Bugesera District.  

The first 66 who arrived in Rwanda and who were in dire conditions stranded  in detention centres in Libya are composed of 49 Eritreans, 8 Somalians and 9 Sudanese,  59 males and 7 females, among them are 27 children under 18 years old and 39 adults.

The permanent Secretary of MINEMA, Mr. Olivier Kayumba who warmly welcomed  them at the Airport on behalf of the Government of Rwanda said that they are accommodated in Rwanda because Rwanda’s sensibility on saving the  life of people in danger. “Many Rwandans have spent more than 30 years in exile, we understand the value of saving life, the reason why Rwanda is concerned about this issue of refugees and decided to provide a safe pathway to our fellow Africans,” he said. 

The UNHCR Rwanda Country representative, H.E Ahmed Baba Fall, commended the will of the Government of Rwanda to host the refugees and asylum seekers who were stranded in Libyan detention centres. “This is the fantastic gesture for refugees by the Government of Rwanda. We are receiving 66 refugees and asylum seekers from Libya whom most of them were under very difficult living conditions. Today they come to safety, I can say to freedom. It is a very good sign of solidarity from the African People” he said. 

The 66 refugees and asylum seekers arrived in Rwanda under the framework of the Emergency Transit Mechanism established through the Memorandum of Understanding signed on 10th September, 2019 in Addis Ababa between the Government of Rwanda, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and the African Union.

The Government of Rwanda will ensure their safety and security while waiting for durable solution for them. While some may benefit from resettlement to third countries, others will be helped to return to countries where asylum had previously been granted or to return to their home countries if it is safe to do so. Some may be given permission to remain in Rwanda subject to agreement by the competent authorities.