‘I have been very moved by the meetings I have had with the inhabitants of the Gashora Transit Centre in Rwanda today. They have been living under atrocious and very dangerous conditions in Libya,’ said Minister of International Development Dag-Inge Ulstein.
Mr Ulstein is currently visiting Rwanda in connection with Norway’s contribution of NOK 50 million to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) transit centre.
‘The stories these people tell are stories of violence, torture, fear and hunger. Some of them have been victims of human trafficking and abuse. It is our duty to help, and I urge other countries to contribute too,’ said Mr Ulstein.
Once the centre is fully operational, it will house 500 people. At present there are 189 residents, 79 of whom are unaccompanied minors. Most of the residents are from Eritrea, Ethiopia, Sudan and Somalia.
‘Rwanda is setting a good example with this initiative. The transit centre is providing important assistance for migrants and refugees in the region, and Rwanda is thus helping to solve this acute crisis,’ said Mr Ulstein.
Under the agreement that the Rwandan authorities have signed with UNHCR and the African Union (AU), Rwanda has undertaken to receive up to 30 000 refugees and migrants from Libya. Those who come to the transit centre will either be given residence in a third country, returned to their country of origin, or allowed to stay in Rwanda.
Norway is the first country to provide support for the transit centre.
‘I’m pleased that next year Norway will take in several hundred refugees and migrants from Libya from this transit centre and a similar transit centre in Romania,’ said Mr Ulstein.