Last Update 23:15
Saturday, 16 November 2019

UN welcomes move by Libya to help find refugee solutions

Reuters , Wednesday 29 Nov 2017
Views: 2104
Views: 2104

The U.N. refugee agency on Wednesday welcomed a decision by Libya to open a transit centre for unaccompanied children and other vulnerable refugees from among hundreds of thousands of migrants, and called on EU countries and others to accept them.

Reports this month of white Libyan slave traders selling black African migrants at markets in Libya - a grim echo of the trans-Saharan slave trade in centuries past - have drawn worldwide horror and condemnation.

Hundreds of thousands of migrants have been crossing the Sahara and the Mediterranean to reach Europe through Libya in each of the past several years. Thousands die during crossing the desert and at sea. Many are now being held in camps in Libya in conditions rights groups describe as inhumane.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has flown 13,000 migrants from Libya back to their countries of origin this year under a voluntary repatriation programme. But thousands of others who face war or persecution at home cannot be sent back safely.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has been seeking to open a refugee transit centre in Tripoli to resettle or evacuate as many as 5,000 of the most vulnerable out of Libya each year.

"UNHCR...welcomes the decision by the Libyan authorities to set up a 'transit and departure facility' in Tripoli for people in need of international protection," the Geneva-based agency said in a statement on Wednesday.

With support from the Italian government, the initiative will facilitate the transfer of thousands of vulnerable refugees to third countries, it said.

"But we now need EU member states and others to step up with offers of resettlement places and other solutions, including family reunification slots," said Roberto Mignone, UNHCR Representative to Libya.

The goal is to speed up the process of securing places in third countries, particularly for unaccompanied and separated children and women at risk, it said.

William Lacy Swing, head of the IOM, told the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday that it was working with partners "to try to empty the detention centres" in Libya of around 15,000 migrants.

Nigeria's president said on Wednesday the government had started bringing stranded citizens home from Libya after the global outcry over reports that migrants there were being sold into slavery.

Short link:


Ahram Online welcomes readers' comments on all issues covered by the site, along with any criticisms and/or corrections. Readers are asked to limit their feedback to a maximum of 1000 characters (roughly 200 words). All comments/criticisms will, however, be subject to the following code
  • We will not publish comments which contain rude or abusive language, libelous statements, slander and personal attacks against any person/s.
  • We will not publish comments which contain racist remarks or any kind of racial or religious incitement against any group of people, in Egypt or outside it.
  • We welcome criticism of our reports and articles but we will not publish personal attacks, slander or fabrications directed against our reporters and contributing writers.
  • We reserve the right to correct, when at all possible, obvious errors in spelling and grammar. However, due to time and staffing constraints such corrections will not be made across the board or on a regular basis.

© 2010 Ahram Online.