African migrants in their dormitory at a detention center, in Zawiya, 50 km west Tripoli, Libya | Photo: ARCHIVE/EPA/SABRI ELMHEDWI
African migrants in their dormitory at a detention center, in Zawiya, 50 km west Tripoli, Libya | Photo: ARCHIVE/EPA/SABRI ELMHEDWI

UNHCR reports that 123 vulnerable refugees have been transferred from Libya to Rwanda. About 3,740 refugees are still in Libyan detention centers.

The refugees were evacuated from Libya to Rwanda on October 10, according to a statement by the United Nations' Refugee Agency (UNHCR). The refugees are currently in a transit center in Gashora, Rwanda. Among them is an eight-month-old child. 

The UNHCR said that the 123 refugees "have been given asylum seeker status, while their cases are assessed and further solutions are pursued, including resettlement, voluntary return to countries of previous asylum, voluntary return to countries of origin where safe to do so and integration with local Rwandan communities." 

Half of the group underage

The tranfer was possible because of an agreement reached in September between UNHCR and the African Union. 

The group is made up mostly of Eritreans, Somalis, Ethiopians and Sudanese. About half are under the age of 18. The evacuees include survivors of the 2 July airstrike on the Tajoura detention centre.

According to UNHCR, they have assisted 1,663 vulnerable refugees the leave Libya in 2019. The agency said that "it is clear that the number of available resettlement and evacuation places will continue to be outstripped by the needs." 

Thousands still in detention centers 

About 3,740 refugees are still being held in detention centers, including people who were rescued by the Libyan Coast Guard, UNHCR said. The UN agency added that "together with other vulnerable refugees living in urban areas, [these refugees] remain at risk of being caught up in the continued clashes, or being subjected to horrific forms of harm in the hands of smugglers and traffickers in Libya." 
 

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