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Rwanda’s Ongoing Refugee-Evacuation Efforts

Rwanda’s Ongoing Refugee-Evacuation Efforts
Rwanda welcomes 79 more asylum seekers   -  
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Berthier Mugiraneza/Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.


African Solidarity in the Time of Crisis

In the country’s most recent efforts to contribute to the persistent issue of displaced persons within the African continent, Rwanda welcomed around 79 more people who arrived at the capital Kigali on November 19.

All hailing from East Africa — with 42 being Sudanese, 33 Eritrean and four Somali, the 11 women and 68 men had been stranded in Libya and were made to take Covid-19 tests upon their arrival in Rwanda.

Elise Villechalane, the spokesperson for the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) in Rwanda told The EastAfrican, "The situation there is quite difficult, there are still thousands of people stranded in Libya, estimated to 45,000 of whom a great number are in detention centres."

Efforts Continue Despite the Pandemic

These refugees and asylum seekers will be hosted at the Emergency Transit Mechanism (ETM) centre in Bugesera district which is situated around 60km from the capital city and are the fourth group of migrants to be received by Rwanda since the country signed the Memorandum of Understanding last year.

An agreement signed on September 10, 2019, between Rwanda, the African Union and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to move refugees and asylum seekers out of detention facilities in Libya.

Upon signing, Rwanda received the first group of displaced persons in Kigali shortly afterwards on September 26, 2019. However, the initiative has since seen some temporary setbacks as movement into Rwanda was halted earlier this year in light of the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic and consequential travel restrictions.

According to the Minister of Cabinet Affairs, Solange Kayisire, around 306 displaced persons have been received at the ETM in Rwanda, "121 persons have been resettled so far, 98 and 23 to Sweden and Canada, respectively. On December 2 and 3 this year, a group of 33 people at ETM will also depart to Sweden.”

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