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A total of 32 asylum-seekers from Libya who were hosted in Rwanda’s emergency transit mechanism in Gashora Transit Centre have been relocated to Sweden and Canada for resettlement.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Rwanda said 28 left Monday for Sweden and 5 were relocated to Canada on Tuesday.
“Today the first large group of refugees hosted in Rwanda’s ETM center has been resettled to Sweden,” UNHCR Rwanda tweeted on Monday night.
“Thank you Sweden and Canada for your generosity to provide renewed hopes for a new start for refugees evacuated from Libya,” the agency added
Sweden had also previously received 7 refugees from Rwanda.
Several European countries including Norway, Sweden and France in January pledged to take in African refugees and asylum-seekers from Libya who are hosted at Transit Centre in Rwanda.
Norway agreed to take 500 with Sweden and France also pledging to take some.
Rwanda last year signed an agreement with the African Union and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) host 500 refugees and asylum seekers from Libya.
As part of an agreement signed in September last year, an emergency transit mechanism was set up.
The deal was signed in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia between the Government, the African Union and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, according to the Ministry of Emergency Management.
The Emergency Transit Mechanism (ETM) in Rwanda provides a safety for refugees and asylum-seekers and other persons in need of protection who are currently trapped in Libya or face serious protection risks.
The refugees are mainly from the Horn of African countries of Somalia, Sudan and Eritrea.
Elise Villechalane the UNHCR externals communications officer in Rwanda last month told Chimp reports that it was not clear whether Norwegian government pledges to take in 600 from Rwanda is meant for those at The Emergency Transit Mechanism (ETM) since the country hosts other 150,000 refugees but hoped most slots would go to them.
She said that some countries have interest in receiving unaccompanied minors because of the specific programs they have for these children.
“Though Some countries have specifically asked for unaccompanied minors we have to find what’s in their best interest like finding which countries they parent went to and re uniting them,” She said.