Libya: Refugee Women, Kids Saved From Libyan Jails

Tripoli — SOME 133 refugees detained in Libya have been evacuated to Niger.

Among the migrants are 81 women and children who had been held in five jails around the hostile North African country.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and Libyan authorities facilitated the evacuation after the refugees were hosted at the Gathering and Departure Facility (GDF) in the capital, Tripoli.

The facility, the first of its kind, opened on Tuesday.

It is intended to bring vulnerable refugees to a safe environment while solutions to their plight are addressed.

"The opening of this centre, in very difficult circumstances, has the potential to save lives," said UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi.

The initiative is one of a range of measures needed to offer viable alternatives to the dangerous boat journeys undertaken by refugees and migrants along the Central Mediterranean route.

The centre, which has received support from the Europeans Union (EU) and other donors, has a capacity to shelter up to 1 000 people.

An estimated 4 900 refugees and migrants are held in detention centres across Libya. These include 3 600 in need of international protection.

Despite experiencing a civil war, Libya remains the main gateway to Europe for African migrants in desperate search for better economic prospects.

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