U.N. praises Niger for accepting migrants in wake of rejection

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi has praised Niger for taking in hundreds of thousands of migrants as some nations shut their borders to them.

“One of the poorest countries is also one of the most generous,” Grandi said of the West African country.

“It has security issues, economic problems and a complex neighbourhood, but it has always kept its borders open.”

The Commissioner was speaking after flying from Libya with 122 refugees rescued from brutal detention centers ad evacuated by the UNHCR under an agreement with Niger.

This is the 13th such flight, bringing more than 1,200 people out of the hellish conditions.

The refugees evacuated from Libya are the latest among almost 328,000 people for whom Niger has become a sanctuary country.

“Niger is an example of solidarity and generosity in a world where many states practice a policy of rejection,” the High Commissioner said.

While speaking with Grandi, Niger’s Prime Minister Brigi Rafini reiterated his country’s open-door policy for people fleeing war and persecution.

Conflict and poverty continues to push millions around the world to flee their homes.

According to the latest UNHCR Global Trends report, 68.5 million people fled their homes in 2017 alone, a new record.

Grandi expressed hope that the European nations that shut their borders for the migrants would review their decisions for humanitarian reasons.