EU allocates €22 million to support refugees and asylum seekers evacuated from Libya to Rwanda

The European Union (EU) has announced a €22 million support package to the Emergency Transit Mechanism (ETM) in Rwanda operated by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the UN Refugee Agency and the Government of Rwanda.

The ETM provides a life-saving channel to evacuate refugees and asylum seekers in need of international protection from Libya to Rwanda. While these individuals temporarily remain in Rwanda, the ETM provides shelters as well as access to health, psychosocial support, and livelihood trainings for evacuees during the processing of their files and identification of future solutions, including award resettlement to third parties.

This latest round of funding builds on earlier phase I support package of €12.5 million between 2019 and 2022.

The EU also funds another ETM in Niger, through which more than 4,000 refugees and asylum seekers have been evacuated out of Libya since 2017.

Commenting on this funding; the Ambassador of the European Union to Rwanda, Amb. Calvo Uyarra said that the ETM is a crucial life-saving initiative to evacuate people facing major threats and inhumane conditions in Libya to safety in Rwanda.

"It is a significant example of African solidarity and and of partnership with the European Union. We are grateful to the Government of Rwanda for hosting these men, women and children until such time, durable solutions can be found,’ she said.

UNHCR Rwanda Representative, Aissatou Ndiaye also said that the European Union has been a vital partner and donor to UNCHR Rwanda’s operations over the last few years.

She disclosed that the agency is thrilled to continue the partnership through the latest round of funding to the ETM.

"The needs of asylum seekers and refugees strapped in Libya are immense. Through the ETM and Government of Rwanda support, solutions are being found to bring them to safety, first in Rwanda and then subsequently in third countries through resettlement. Over the next years, we aim to support about 3,000 more people to find solutions to their plight," she noted.

Since 2019, over 1500 refugees and asylum seekers have been hosted at Gashora Transit Center of whom more than 900 have sent to third countries in Europe including France, Sweden, Belgium and Finland among others.