On 12 December 2019, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MFAIC) answered ASGI’s access requests, submitted in the framework of the Sciabaca and Oruka projects, aimed at obtaining information on the EUR 1 Million loan to UNHCR for humanitarian evacuation to Rwanda of asylum seekers and refugees detained in Libyan detention camps.
The documents provided by the MFAIC are available for download:
UNHCR project proposal for the evacuation of 500 migrants from Libya to Rwanda
MFAIC decree authorizing the relative expense
Technical agreement between the Italian government and UNHCR
The project proposal shows that the migrants evacuated to Rwanda will not all be resettled: on the contrary, the project foresees that some of them will be “helped” to return to countries of first asylum, others voluntarily repatriated to their countries of origin, while others will face the perspective of an extended stay in Rwanda.
As regards other documents relating to the implementation of the project, the MFAIC informed ASGI that it did not possess any guidelines on the functioning of the evacuation mechanism, nor detailed plans of activities, nor subcontracting agreements between UNHCR and implementing partners that will carry out the transport.
The MFAIC has also told ASGI that it is not in possession of any document concerning the fundamental rights of the persons involved, such as:
– safeguards required from UNHCR in carrying out evacuations;
– criteria for identifying people eligible for evacuation;
– options available for people evacuated after their transfer to Rwanda.
In other words, the Italian government simply financed the evacuation of 500 vulnerable people from Libya, without obtaining any guarantee from UNHCR as to who will be evacuated, in what manner and with what perspectives.
These gaps are all the more concerning if we consider that the humanitarian evacuation concerns extremely vulnerable people, detained in infamous Libyan detention camps, often also managed by armed groups, and in a context characterized by extreme instability and violence.
For more information on the ETM (Emergency Transit Mechanism) programs, please refer to the dedicated ASGI factsheet.