In the midst of the global refugee crisis, Rwanda has once again demonstrated its steadfast commitment to humanitarianism. It welcomed 169 asylum seekers evacuated from Libya, through a transit mechanism, according to the ministry in charge of emergency management.
In a statement, the ministry said the asylum-seekers hail from Eritrea, Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, and South Sudan.
“They safely landed at Kigali International Airport. Rwanda remains committed to offering refuge and assistance to people in need. The evacuees were transported to the Gashora transit center in eastern Rwanda, pending the processing of their resettlement to other countries,” the statement said.
The asylum-seekers were evacuated under the 2019 memorandum of understanding signed between the Rwandan government, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and the African Union. Through this, a transit mechanism for evacuating refugees and asylum-seekers out of Libya was set up.
Early this month, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said more than 6,600 people have received resettlement assistance from Rwanda this year. Those resettled include 1,288 persons who were first evacuated from Libya to Rwanda.
As of 30 September, Rwanda hosts over 135,000 refugees and asylum-seekers, according to UNHCR.
In a related development, the National General Maritime Transport Company disclosed the rescue of an additional 28 Syrian migrants, found in a critical state off the coast of Tripoli. The company’s vessel, Anwar Libya, provided the necessary aid to the migrants, including medical support, underlining the moral imperative guiding such rescue missions. After receiving first aid, the group was escorted to a guiding station in Tripoli.
Libya remains a major gateway for migrants and asylum seekers attempting perilous sea voyages, in often rickety boats in the hope of a better life in Europe.
Last month, Libyan authorities released 32 Syrian migrants who were held in detention for 17 days, after being rescued from a capsized boat.
The central Mediterranean route has been dubbed the world’s deadliest sea crossing for migrants.