Afrika Nå: Migration Governance - the Emergency Transit Mechanism in Rwanda
Since 2016, European Union (EU) member states, led by Italy, have collaborated with the Libyan authorities to ensure people attempting to flee the country by boat are intercepted at sea and brought back to Libya.
By December 2019, the EU had spent 375 million Euros providing speedboats, training, and assistance in coordinating operations at sea to the Libyan Coast Guard (LCG) and maintaining detention centres in Libya. By September 2020, the LCG had captured an estimated 60 000 men, women and children at sea and returned them to Libya to put them in detention centres where they are subjected to enforced disappearances, indefinite and arbitrary detention, torture and extortion in addition to being caught in the crossfires of armed conflicts.
On September 10, 2019, Rwanda signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with UNHCR and the African Union to rescue refugees and asylum-seekers from Libya. The EU pledged 10 million euros, and Norway and Malta, 5 million euros, 50,000 Euros respectively.
Though a relatively secure country with much-lauded economic development, Rwanda is also a dictatorship and police state with tightly controlled media. The small East African country already hosts more than 148,000 refugees. It has, on paper, granted refugees social and economic rights, including the right to work. However, these rights do not always equate to rights in practice.. Refugees in Rwanda often struggle to access public services and employment opportunities. The government has also violently repressed refugee protests against discrimination and food shortages in camps.
According to the UNHCR, as of May 2021, 5 evacuation flights have left Libya for Rwanda, bringing the total number of evacuees to 515 persons. Join us on September 29 for a panel with experts. We will, among others, discuss the sustainability of current EU and Norwegian policies to help refugees suffering grave human rights abuses. What the conditions of the refugees living in - and leaving Libya are. If it is justifiable to make a deal with Rwanda in exchange for diplomatic favours, and many more.
Chisom Udeze - Political analyst and Economist
Mathias Hatleskog Tjønn – Historian and Research Assistant at PRIO, focusing on colonial history, migration studies and the Mediterranean