The EU will deliver a €10.3m support package for the UNHCR’s Emergency Transit Mechanism, which helps Libyan refugees resettle in Rwanda.
The Emergency Transit Mechanism (ETM) in Rwanda is funded by the EU’s Emergency Trust Fund for Africa, which aims to promote stability and cohesive migration management throughout the continent; and will build on the work of the mechanism in Niger, where ETM support has already enabled more than 2,900 asylum seekers and refugees to leave Libya since 2017. In total, the UNHCR – the United Nations’ refugee support agency – has assisted more than 4,250 refugees and asylum seekers in leaving Libya in the last two years.
Neven Mimica, the EU’s Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, said: “This project will support efforts of the government of Rwanda to receive and provide protection to about 1,500 refugees and asylum seekers who are currently being held in detention centres in Libya. Such a remarkable and powerful proof of African solidarity should be further encouraged, replicated and supported.”
Around 4,700 people are currently held in migrant detention centres in Libya, where conditions are described as ‘dire’. An EU committee debate later this week, which will hear evidence from representatives of the UNHCR, the International Organisation for Migration, the International Rescue Committee and Médecins sans Frontières, will examine the treatment of migrants in detention centres, which are periodically at risk of airstrikes; and investigate the practices of the Libyan coastguard in returning migrants rescued at sea.
European Commission High Representative and Vice President Federica Mogherini said: “The Emergency Transit Mechanism in Rwanda is a vital life-saving measure to bring people in need of international protection out of Libya. It is an important sign of African solidarity and of partnership with the European Union. It broadens the support to the most vulnerable people held in Libyan detention centres that need to be closed urgently.”