Fifty four vulnerable refugees from Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia and Sudan, including 23 children, 13 of who have been separated from their parents and wider family was relocated by UNHCR from the Emergency Transit Mechanism (ETM) in Niger to Italy, on November 05.
Most had previously been held in detention in Libya for prolonged periods, where they faced terrible conditions, appalling human rights abuses and the rising threat of being caught up in the hostilities.
“Refugees in Libya continue to face a dire situation, struggling to access the basics needed to survive,” said Jean-Paul Cavalieri, UNHCR Representative in Libya. “By welcoming them to Niger, and by arranging for their relocation to Italy, both countries have shown much-needed solidarity towards refugees.
This is the second humanitarian relocation from Niger to Italy carried out by UNHCR after a first group of 51 people was transferred in November last year. Following November 05’s flight, 913 vulnerable people previously at risk in Libya have been relocated to Italy since December 2017, including some evacuated directly out of the country.
Amidst intensifying violence in Libya, humanitarian evacuation operations to other countries are a crucial lifeline for vulnerable refugees in detention centres and urban areas in desperate need of security and protection.
Prior to today’s evacuation, UNHCR has evacuated more than 5,100 refugees and asylum-seekers out of Libya to other countries since 2017, including 2,913 to Niger and 189 to Rwanda through the Emergency Transit Mechanism. (Source: UNHCR)