Tue. Feb 25th, 2020

Refugees evacuated from Libya to Rwanda have not dropped hope of living in Europe

Stranded refugees in Libyan detention centres awaiting resettlement in Europe (PHOTO/Net)

George Kalisa

There is a climate of excitement and jubilation at the transit centre in Gashora, South Eastern Rwanda, a home to about 300 refugees recently evacuated to Rwanda from the Libyan Refuge Detention centres.   

Rwanda experienced the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi just 25 years ago when over a million Tutsi were killed in a space of 100 days. The genocide ruined the economy to ‘beyond-recovery’ levels and left behind a polarized society.

The East African country after making leaps in unity and reconciliation and economic development it contributed to peacekeeping in the region. And, of recent it made a step forward by leading the international community in tackling the plight of refugees stranded in Libya.

Refugees in the Rwandan transit centre have two options to be resettled in a safe third country in the region or stay in Rwanda. The majority opposed this prerequisite and still live with the dream of resettling in Europe.  

Life at the transit centre in Gashora, which is managed by UNHCR revitalized to imaginable levels since refugees here learnt that European nations like France accepted to welcome them.   

Now, the Unite Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Rwanda confirmed January21 through a tweet that also Canada, Sweden and Norway are ready to receive refugees from Libyan detention centres.  

“France, Canada, Sweden, Norway ready to welcome # refugees evacuated from Libya and who are today in a transit center in Gashora, in the south-east of #Rwanda” said UNHCR.

Sweden is ready to accept 150 asylum seekers, France 100, Canada 200 and Norway 450, enough to allow further evacuations from Libya according to Élise Villechalane of the UNHCR office in Rwanda, reported Radion France Internationale(RFI).

“We will be able to make more spaces in the center to evacuate more people and save more lives,” she explains. As part of the agreement we signed with Rwanda, the agreement was that we could accommodate 500 people at any time on Rwandan territory. “

In September2019 Rwanda entered an agreement with the UNHCR and the African Union for a mandate and legit to receive and host asylum seekers stranded in detention centers in Libya.

 “Refugees and asylum seekers hosted in Gashora Emergency Transit Center since their arrival in Rwanda have acquired different skills. Now, they are able to play music in their local languages,” said the Ministry of Emergency Management.

What else is experienced at the Gashora transit Centre is the thick line between their dream and the kind life they lead today. Their life is full of energy and social functioning. They play music in their local languages, skills they have acquired in that transit centre.

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