The EU Delegation in Rwanda Thursday announced an aid package valued at € 22 million to the Rwandan government in support of the Emergency Transit Mechanism (ETM) operated by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) to evacuate at-risk refugees and asylum seekers from Libya. In effect, the package ensures the refugees have “access to safe shelter, healthcare including psychosocial support, training in different skills.”
Rwanda emerged as a transit hub post a deal signed between the African Union, UNHCR, and the Rwandan government in 2019 after the Second Libyan Civil War outbreak. The deal, commended by UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi, allowed asylum seekers in need of “protection, lifesaving assistance, and durable solutions” to escape Libya through the ETM and seek safe refuge in Rwanda.
The EU Ambassador to Rwanda Calvo Uyurra emphasized the importance of the ETM in a statement:
The Emergency Transit Mechanism in Rwanda 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 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.
The UNHCR helped 1,500 people seek refuge in Rwanda in the wake of the war. Out of 1,500, about 900 went on to seek asylum in EU countries like Sweden and France through legally recognized pathways. Alternatively, the refugees had the option of settling in Rwanda itself or another country that had granted them asylum earlier.