Tripoli — MORE than 100 African nationals stranded in war-torn Libya have been relocated to Italy over the past year.
Some 54 vulnerable refuges from Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia and Sudan were relocated to the European country on Tuesday this week.
Among them are 23 children, 13 of whom have been separated from their parents and wider family. They had earlier been evacuated to Niger.
Most of them had previously been held in detention in Libya for prolonged periods, where they faced terrible conditions, human rights abuses and the rising threat of being caught up in the hostilities.
"Refugees in Libya continue to face a dire situation, struggling to access the basics needed to survive," said Jean-Paul Cavalieri, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) representative in Libya.
The envoy said Italy and Niger had shown much-needed solidarity towards refugees.
This is the second humanitarian relocation from Niger to Italy carried out by UNHCR, after the first group of 51 people was transferred in November last year.
However, thousands more need the same support.
"It's crucial that other countries in the international community come forward with more places, and faster processes, to help us evacuate more vulnerable refugees in Libya to safety," Cavalieri said.
Prior to this week's evacuation, UNHCR has evacuated more than 5 100 refugees and asylum-seekers out of Libya to other countries since 2017.