UNHCR: First group of migrants moved from Libya to Rwanda

A group of migrants resettled in Rwanda from Libya. [Photo: Internet]
The first group of what is expected to be hundreds of evacuees have been moved to Rwanda from Libya, under a new programme involving the African Union and United Nations refugee agency.

The 66 refugees, who were Sudanese, Somali or Eritrean, flew from Misrata airport to Rwanda’s capital Kigali, arriving at about 9.30pm local time on Thursday.

The youngest person evacuated was a two-month-old girl called Hadia, according to UNHCR. She was born in the agency’s centre in Tripoli.

Twenty-five others were also children, nearly all of whom were without a family member, according to the UN agency. One of the evacuees had not left a detention centre for more than four years.

They were taken from the airport to a transit centre in Gashora, about 60km south of Kigali. They have been given asylum-seeker status, in advance of their refugee claims being properly assessed.

The group will have freedom of movement, access to education and be allowed to work, UNHCR said. They will also be given language and vocational training classes.

UNHCR estimates that running the evacuations to Rwanda will cost $10 million (€9.1 million) between now and the end of the year, which includes the cost of accommodation and basic aid and services for the evacuees.

“UNHCR urges the international community to support Rwanda’s gesture of solidarity with refugees by providing financial support and resettlement places,” the agency said in a statement.

Rwanda said it will initially take 500 refugees, in an agreement signed earlier this month.

The Great Lakes country is already sheltering about 150,000 other refugees, mostly from neighbouring Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

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