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Refugees Who Fled Libya to Tunisia Will Resettle in Germany

Posted on Fri, Aug-31-2012
After nearly 18 months of waiting in a transit camp some seven kilometers from the Tunisia-Libya border, 195 refugees will depart on Monday (3/9) to start new lives in Germany.

IOM has arranged a charter flight from Djerba to Hannover on behalf of the German government and will bus the refugees from the Shousha transit camp to Djerba airport.

The Migration Agency has also provided pre-departure health screening for the refugees. Although Germany has accepted 200 refugees, five, including two pregnant mothers, will postpone their trip for medical reasons.

"The German government was outstanding with its speedy selection and departure process. It is now my hope that the remaining population in Shousha will not have so long to wait for a durable solution," said UNHCR Tunisia Representative Schulze Aboubacar.

The refugees departing for Germany on Monday had initially fled to Libya before being uprooted again last year because of the Libyan civil war. Although benefiting from protection and assistance in Tunisia, many refugees have been in a state of limbo in Shousha for more than 18 months.

Most of those being resettled to Germany originate from Sudan, Somalia, Eritrea and Ethiopia and are single males between the ages of 18 and 35. But there are also over twenty families with children and three unaccompanied minors.

In May 2012, the German Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) deployed a five-week selection mission to Zarzis to interview refugees referred by UNHCR. Out of 246 applications, BAMF ultimately accepted 200 refugees for resettlement.

To facilitate the move to Germany, the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) organized German language training in the camp, while IOM provided cultural orientation classes. On arrival the refugees will receive another two weeks of orientation outside Hannover.

According to UNHCR, there are currently 2,211 refugees in Shousha. Some 1,320 have already been conditionally accepted by a resettlement country (including the 200 refugees being resettled to Germany). Another 635 refugees are awaiting a decision by a resettlement country.

Most of the refugees who fled to Shousha from Libya will be resettled to the United States, which has agreed to take 2,000 of the total.

For more information, please contact 

Elisa Van Der Valk
IOM Tunis
Tel. +21671860321
Email: evandervalk@iom.int