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Minister of Development with delegation - Photo:MFA/Guri Solberg.
Minister of International Development and his delegation in Kigali. MFA/Guri Solberg.

Ministerial visit to Rwanda

The Norwegian Minister of International Development, Mr. Dag-Inge Ulstein, heard strong and emotional stories from young refugees and families transferred from Libya to Rwanda when he visited Gashora transit center outside of Kigali last week. Norway announced 50 million NOK in assistance, as the first official donor.

| Kigali, Rwanda

Rwanda, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the African Union (AU) signed an MoU in September this year to establish a transit mechanism for vulnerable people evacuated out of Libya.

Rwanda had received 189 vulnerable refugees when Mr. Ulstein visited the transit center. He met a group of young Eritreans and Somalians, including women with newborn babies. They narrated challenging travels with human traffickers through Africa, and inhuman conditions in Libya. They are currently safe in Rwanda, but uncertain of what the future might bring.

The MoU between Rwanda, the AU and UNHCR suggests several solutions, including voluntary return to country of origin, return to first country, resettlement in a third country (including Norway) or permanent settlement in Rwanda. Ulstein commended Rwanda for their willingness to provide a regional solution to an acute crisis.

During Ulstein’s visit he met Rwanda’s new Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Minister in charge of Emergency Management, the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, as well as representatives from civil society.

This year Rwanda commemorates 25 years since the Genocide against the Tutsi, and the Minister was deeply humbled when visiting the Kigali Genocide Memorial. He layed down a wreath and signed the condolence protocol.

- While my heart is heavy after witnessing the horrendous details inside the museum, I am also uplifted by the resilience and courage displayed. And I am further encouraged by the many examples of healing and reconciliation this nation has been able to achieve during the last 25 years, the Minister said.