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France To Welcome First Refugees Evacuated From Libya

 

France to welcome first refugees evacuated from Libya© Handout Source: Reuters May 2016, migrants spill their boat before a rescue operation at sea off Libya, illustration

France proposed on 20 November, through its High Commissioner for Refugees, to accommodate 25 foreign nationals evacuated from Libyan detention camps as early as January 2018.  This decision comes as the broadcast of a CNN report showing migrant auctions in Libya  has moved international opinion.

According to information from RTL , there are at present 25 individuals of Eritrean, Ethiopian and Sudanese origin: 15 women, four children and six men alleged to have been victims of rape and arbitrary detention.

This is the first time since 2011 that the High Commissioner for Refugees evacuates detained persons in Libya. According to RTL, the operation was conducted jointly with the Libyan authorities and other evacuations of the same type should follow.

The French Office for the Protection of Refugees and Stateless Persons (OFPRA) visited the Nigerian capital during the past week and heard the 25 refugees in question who had apparently already been exfiltrated to Niamey.

OFPRA boss Pascal Brice said: “There is a strong commitment from France and Europe to stop these terrible crossings of Libya and the Mediterranean.” The operation is part of the resettlement plan for 3,000 refugees from Chad and Niger, as announced by Emmanuel Macron in October. This plan aims to identify in Africa some of the refugees who want to migrate to Europe, before they try to cross at their own risk.

25 refugees … and 47 others

To these 25 refugees who have passed through Libya will be added another 47 “vulnerable” refugees from camps of the High Commissioner for Refugees in Niger. Their arrival on the French territory is scheduled for the beginning of January 2018 after validation of their asylum application file.

These people will be accommodated in transit centers before being relocated throughout France. OFPRA has already announced that identical operations will be carried out in 2018.

 

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