GENEVA (Reuters) - African refugees being held in squalid conditions in detention in Libya will be evacuated to Rwanda under an agreement reached with Kigali and the African Union, the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR said on Tuesday.
A first group of 500 refugees from the Horn of Africa will be evacuated in coming weeks out of 4,700 now estimated to be in custody in Libya, under a new transit mechanism, UNHCR spokesman Babar Baloch said.
“It is a lifeline,” Baloch told a Geneva briefing.
(The story removes reference to EU funding for this program. Spokesman for UNHCR said EU helps fund UNHCR overall but has not earmarked funds for this initiative. )
Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Andrew Heavens and Peter Graff