Germany hails UN evacuation of refugees from Libya

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The first arrival of 66 refugees and asylum seekers from Libya supported by Rwanda's UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, at the Kigali international airport (Photo: UNHCR)
The first arrival of 66 refugees and asylum seekers from Libya supported by Rwanda’s UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, at the Kigali international airport (COURTESY: UNHCR)

German Ambassador to Libya Oliver Owcza on Tuesday hailed the evacuation of more than 100 refugees from Libya to Rwanda by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

“Germany congratulates UNHCR Libya for this successful humanitarian evacuation and expresses gratitude to Rwanda for enabling new transit mechanism,” Owcza tweeted.

“We likewise welcome cooperation of Libyan authorities, including latest releases from Detention Centers,” Owcza said.

On Monday, UNHCR announced evacuating 116 refugees from Libya to Rwanda, including minors.

“As violence in Tripoli intensifies, these evacuations have never been more urgent. But with thousands of refugees still at risk in detention centers and urban areas in Libya, we need states to help us get more refugees out of the country much more quickly,” said Vincent Cochetel, UNHCR special envoy for the central Mediterranean.

UNHCR estimated that 4,500 refugees and asylum seekers are held in detention centers in Libya and face risk of “being caught up in the continued clashes or being subjected to horrific forms of harm in the hands of smugglers and traffickers in Libya.”

Thousands of illegal immigrants, mostly Africans, chose to cross the Mediterranean from Libya toward Europe, due to the state of insecurity and chaos in the North African nation that followed the 2011 uprising which toppled former leader Muammar Gaddafi’s regime.

Libya’s eastern-based army has been fighting with the Tripoli-based UN-backed government since early April in an attempt to take over control of the capital.

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