The UN Higher Commission of Refugees (UNHCR) said on Friday that 66 vulnerable refugees was evacuated from Libya to Rwanda Thursday night on a UNHCR-chartered flight becoming the first group to benefit from this type of Emergency Transit Mechanism.The Emergency Transit Mechanism was recently agreed and set up by the Government of Rwanda, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and the African Union, the statement said.
The group which landed at Kigali international airport around 9:30 pm local time (7:30 pm GMT), included a baby born in Libyan detention just two months ago, the UN agency said.
In total, 26 of the evacuees were refugee children, nearly all of them unaccompanied, without a family member or parent.
Reports indicate that all evacuees were either Sudanese, Somali or Eritrean where by one of them had not been outside a detention centre for more than four years.
Upon arrival, refugees were registered and provided with documentation, before being taken to a transit centre in Gashora some 60 kilometers south of the capital, Kigali, where UNHCR will provide
them with accommodation, food, water, kitchen sets, blankets, mosquito nets and other core relief items.
It said the entire group has been granted asylum-seeker status, pending an assessment of their refugee claim by UNHCR.
As part of integration process, all evacuees will be invited to attend language and vocational training classes to help them integrate with local communities during their time in Rwanda.
Further solutions will include voluntary return to countries where they had previously been granted asylum, return home if safe and voluntary, or integration into local Rwandan host communities, it
A second evacuation flight is expected in the coming weeks as UNHCR continues every effort to get vulnerable refugees in Libya out of harm’s way and to safety.
Official estimates show that US$10 million will be spent on initial investments and to run the Emergency Transit Mechanism between Libya and Rwanda through the end of the year.