15 December 2017

Libya: UNHCR Evacuates 74 Vulnerable Refugees From Libya to Niger

press release

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, evacuated during the night of 14-15 December, 74 vulnerable refugees, the vast majority children and women, from Libya to Niger.

"I am happy to report that a group of 51 children, 22 women and one man have been successfully evacuated from Libya and are now safe in Niger. Less than 24 hours ago they were still detained in Libya, but they can now hope anew," said Vincent Cochetel, UNHCR's Special Envoy for the Central Mediterranean Situation.

"This evacuation could not have happened without the support of the authorities and of our partners, including MOAS, in Libya. I also want to praise the extraordinary solidarity demonstrated by the people and by the Government of Niger," he added.

With the support of UNHCR's partners in Niger, these refugees - all of Eritrean or Somali nationalities - will be accommodated in guesthouses in Niamey. The children will stay in centres for children, where assistance, psychosocial support and recreational activities will be made available. The best solution in the interest of each child will be identified, while adults go through UNHCR regular processing with a view to identify resettlement and other durable solutions for them.

Meanwhile, the first group of 25 refugees which was evacuated from Libya to Niger on 11 November is scheduled to depart for France before Christmas.

On Monday, UNHCR launched an urgent appeal asking for 1,300 resettlement places to be made available for vulnerable refugees in Libya by the end of March 2018.*

"Refugee evacuations can only be part of broader asylum-building and migration management efforts to address the complex movement of migrants and refugees along the Mediterranean routes," stressed Cochetel. UNHCR is thankful for the support it receives from the European Commission to operationalize this life-saving evacuation mechanism.

ENDS

*Find out more about our urgent appeal for 1,300 resettlement places

For more information on this topic, please contact:

In Geneva, Cécile Pouilly, pouilly@unhcr.org, +41 79 108 26 25

In Geneva, William Spindler, spindler@unhcr.org, +41 79 217 30 11

In Tunis, Bathoul Ahmed, ahmedba@unhcr.org, +216 20 69 76 35

In Niamey, Louise Donovan, donovan@unhcr.org, +227 92 18 34 73

In Amman, Rula Amin, aminr@unhcr.org, +962 790 04 58 49

In Italy, Carlotta Sami, sami@unhcr.org, +39 335 679 4746 or Federico Fossi, fossi@unhcr.org ,+39 349 08 43 461

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