News: Ethiopian refugees, asylum seekers evacuated from Libya arrive in Rwanda

The 17 Ethiopians are among 134 refugees and asylum seekers from other African countries. Photo: Ministry of Emergency Management, Rwanda

Addis Abeba – Seventeen Ethiopian refugees and asylum seekers who are evacuated from Libya on Monday 12 June and arrived in Rwanda where they will be accommodated in the in Gashora Transit Center, that hosts other evacuees who arrived before.

According to Ministry in charge of Emergency Management of Rwanda, the 17 Ethiopians are among 134 refugees and asylum seekers from other African countries to have been evacuated from Libya. They are nationals from Eritrea (64), Sudan (35), Somalia (15), Cameroon (two) and Mali (one).

According to the UN’s IOM, migrants from Ethiopia often chose what’s known as “the Northern Migratory Route” that includes Sudan, Egypt and Libya, in hopes of crossing to the Mediterranean to a better life in Europe. Instead many are “captured by traffickers, forcing their families to pay large sums of money for their release. In fact, many unfortunate African migrants to Libya have experienced being sold as slaves to work off the ransom terms of their captors.” Many embark on such perilous journeys “lured by smugglers.”

In September 2018, IOM organized its first charter to Ethiopia from Libya’s Zintan airport, with a stopover in Egypt for 177 stranded migrants. “Among the returnees, 111 persons returned from detention centers in Tripoli and Zintan and 24 had been living in urban areas,” IOM said.

Monday’s arrival to Rwanda is the 14th group to have been evacuated from Libya following the 2019 collaboration agreement signed between Rwanda, the African Union and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) that has led to the establishment of an Emergency Transit Mechanism (ETM).

The ETM was set up to “provide lifesaving protection, assistance, and long-term solutions to vulnerable refugees and asylum seekers trapped in Libya through a temporary evacuation to Rwanda,” the Ministry said. AS

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