Norway is considering taking in up to 500 African refugees and asylum-seekers from Libya who are currently hosted at an emergency transit centre in Bugesera District, known as Gashora Transit Centre.
This was revealed by Foreign Affairs Minister Dr Vincent Biruta at a news conference on Wednesday, his first media briefing as government spokesperson.
He said that, so far, Rwanda is hosting over 300 refugees and asylum seekers at the Gashora Transit Centre, and they are of different nationalities, mainly from the Horn of African countries of Somalia, Sudan and Eritrea.
Biruta said that, so far, countries that have sought to make an intervention in the situation are Norway and Sweden.
He revealed that Sweden has already taken in seven refugees from Rwanda.
Norway, on the other hand, could take up to 500 refugees from Rwanda’s transit mechanism, according to Biruta.
As part of an agreement signed in September last year, Rwanda set up a transit mechanism to host up to 500 refugees from Libyaat a time.
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 safe pathway for refugees, asylum-seekers and other persons in need of protection who are currently trapped in Libya or face serious protection risks.
According to the terms of agreement, the mechanism is established to temporarily host evacuees for their stay in Rwanda, while durable solutions, including repatriation and resettlement, are being identified.
The resettlement of up to 500 hundred refugees and asylum seekers in Norway and Sweden will make it possible for Rwanda to take in more refugees through the transit mechanism as is intended.
Rwanda made the commitment to host the African refugees trapped in Libya after their desperate journeys were cut short when European nations stepped up migrant controls.
Persons eligible to benefit from the centre include refugees recognized by UNHCR Libya, asylum-seekers registered with UNHCR Libya, children and youth at risk registered as refugees as well as spouses and children of asylum-seekers and refugees.
In Rwanda, the refugees are granted rights such asaccess to medical care, school and work and also benefit from projects equipping them with income-generating skills.
Human rights groups have documented multiple cases of rape, torture and other crimes at the detention facilities in Libya, some of which are run by militia groups.