Norway welcomes 600 African refugees 'to send a strong message'

Norway has agreed to take 600 asylum seekers to help stop the often deadly trafficking of migrants across the Mediterranean Sea. DW has learned up to 11 of them have already left for the EU.Norway on Wednesday agreed to open its doors to 600 asylum seekers who had been evacuated to Rwanda from detention centers in Libya.

The 600 people are part of a group of 800 migrants who had been moved to Rwanda from Libya under a September agreement between Rwanda, the African Union (AU) and the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR).

Many are from Horn of Africa nations and have been given temporary asylum-seeker status until the UNHCR determines their refugee status.

Norway wants to stop the deadly smuggling of migrants across the Mediterranean Sea, said Joaran Kallmyr, the country's immigration minister.

"For me it is important to send a signal that we will not back smuggling routes and cynical backers, but instead bring in people with protection needs in organized form.''

"It's a relief to them," said Alex Ngarambe, DW's correspondent in the Rwandan capital, Kigali.

"The first time I spoke to some of them, there were not happy. They said Rwanda is not their final destination. They did not want to stay here any longer."

Radio DW, Jan. 10th 2020

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