Rwanda: Govt Offers to Support Migrants Stuck in Libya

Photo: UN
Migrants in Libya (file photo).
22 November 2017

Rwanda will consider taking in stateless refugees many of whom continue to suffer all sorts of injustices in northern Libya, including being traded as slaves.

This follows a UN report that West African migrants are being bought and sold openly in modern-day slave markets in Libya.

According to the Chairperson African Union Commission, Mousa Faki, Rwanda offered not only to resettle those that will have been found stateless, but also facilitate transport for those that want to return to their homeland.

Louise Mushikiwabo, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Government Spokesperson, said Wednesday that the country's intervention is drawn from the experience of her own people, over decades.

"Rwanda's political philosophy and the experience of many Rwandans for many years not having a country they call home, have led this country to feel for refugees, migrants, stateless persons," Mushikiwabo said in a tweet.

She added: "For #Africans being sold in Libya: #Rwanda is small, but we will find some space!"

According to a recent report, thousands of them from Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and Gambia among others, end up trapped in Libya as they try to make their way into Europe through the Mediterranean Sea in the northern part of the country.

The refugees are then kept in warehouses from where they are taken out for being publicly auctioned between $400-500 a refugee or if lucky, ransomed by their families.

The north African nation is a major exit point for refugees from Africa trying to take boats to Europe.

But since the overthrow of autocratic leader Muammar Gaddafi, the vast, sparsely populated country has slid into violent chaos and migrants with little cash and usually no papers are particularly vulnerable.

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