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Rwanda Offers Migrants Stuck in Libya, Niger a Safe Haven

Rwanda will soon start receiving hundreds of African immigrants who are stranded in detention centres North Africa, as part of concerted emergency efforts by humanitarian agencies and the European Union to stop the migration caravan.

Illegal immigrants, who were rescued by the Libyan coastguard in the Mediterranean off the Libyan coast, arrive at a naval base in the capital Tripoli on May 26, 2017. PHOTO | MAHMUD TURKIA | AFP

According to media reports, the Paul Kagame administration is ready to host the now homeless Africans, and its officials recently visited Niger, where close to 1,000 immigrants are held in detention centres.

The EU has been exploring resettlement options and has approached a number of African countries to host them.

Rwanda had in 2017, offered to host 30,000 African immigrants stuck in Libya over the next few years, the first 500 of whom will be received soon.

“The desperate situation in Libya is disturbing and we are prepared to provide support and sanctuary for our African brothers who are stuck in the immigration debacle in Libya, and who are willing to move to Rwanda,” President Kagame said last year while hosting foreign diplomats in Kigali.

The Financial Times this week reported that while the details have yet to be finalised, the evacuees are being given the option to stay on in Rwanda or return to their home countries.

Last month, the International Organisation of Migration Director General António Vitorino and UNHCR Director General Filippo Grandi wrote to Federica Mogherini, EU’s top diplomat, and Moussa Faki Mahamat, chair of the African Union Commission, backing the Kigali plan, noting that it would help ease the inhumane conditions facing the immigrants in the Libyan detention centres.

The migrants chosen for this relocation are a mix of asylum seekers, unaccompanied minors, refugees, economic immigrants, and stateless people. Most Ethiopians and Somalis, prefer to go to Rwanda.

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