Rwanda: Third group of refugees arrive from Libya

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A third group of refugees evacuated from detention centres in Libya have arrived in Rwanda.

With the help of the UN refugee agency (UNHCR), Rwanda has welcomed 116 vulnerable refugees, including several babies, the agency said on Monday. The group mostly consists of refugees from Eritrea, with smaller numbers from Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan and South Sudan.

Third group of refugees arrive in Rwanda

The group arrived at Kigali International Airport on Sunday night from an evacuation flight organised by UNHCR. The agency says around two-thirds of the group are under the age of 18 years old, the vast majority of whom have been separated from their parents and wider families.

UNHCR expressed gratitude for the support it received in the latest evacuation.

“UNHCR is grateful for support of Libyan, Rwandan and Nigerien authorities, and from the African Union, through the Emergency Transit Mechanism (ETM),” it said in a statement on Monday. “UNHCR also welcomes the recent donation of US$10 million from the European Union towards the Rwanda ETM, helping us move more vulnerable refugees out of Libya and to safety.”

However, UNHCR Special Envoy for the Central Mediterranean, Vincent Cochetel, says the growing need to evacuate refugees from Syria means UNHCR needs the help of supporting countries to get them out.

“As violence in Tripoli intensifies, these evacuations have never been more urgent”, he was quoted as saying in the statement. “But with thousands of refugees still at risk in detention centres and urban areas in Libya, we need states to help us get more refugees out of the country much more quickly.”

UNHCR says around 4,500 refugees and asylum seekers continue to be held in detention centres in Libya, including people newly-detained people who have been intercepted or rescued by the Libyan Coast Guard.

Featured image: By UNHCR – http://www.unhcr.org/cgi-bin/texis/vtx/home, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5518123

About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.