UN, AU and EU Urge Immediate Action on Refugee Crisis in Libya

IOM

– On 20 March, the AU-EU-UN Tripartite Taskforce on the Situation of Migrants and Refugees in Libya met in Brussels. The international community and Libyan authorities must work together to improve the plight of migrants and refugees in Libya.

The meeting was attended by the Commissioner for Health, Humanitarian Affairs and Social Development of the African Union Commission, Minata Cessouma Samate, the EU Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi and the IOM Director General, António Vitorino, to discuss and advance the priorities of the Taskforce.

The Tripartite Taskforce Members reaffirmed their commitment to supporting the Libyan authorities’ efforts for tackling the urgent needs on the ground. While working alongside other actors, they will step up their efforts to further support the developments of non-discriminatory legal and policy frameworks for migrants and refugees, based on international and AU standards and human rights, with the aim of protecting and saving lives along the migratory routes and particularly in Libya.

They further urged the Libyan authorities to end arbitrary detention of migrants and refugees starting with the women and children as well as other individuals with specific needs or disabilities. The Taskforce is ready to assist the Libyan authorities to ensure practical alternatives such as release into the community or accommodation in Migrant Response Centres (MRCs), where they can receive psychosocial support and health assistance.

The Taskforce called on the international community to support the Libyan Authorities to combat human trafficking and smuggling of migrants, notably by facilitating effective prosecution efforts and prevent the risks of re-trafficking and disappearance. The Task Force also agreed to support awareness raising on the dangers of the journeys along the migratory routes and to seek durable solutions for migrants and refugees.

The Taskforce committed to support the Libyan Government’s efforts to ensure improved migration governance and border management whilst fostering full respect for the human rights of refugees and migrants and access to protection. They further called on the Libyan authorities to issue documentation for labour migrants in the country and recognize documentation provided to refugees, pending the establishment of a comprehensive national migration management system.

They committed to support stepping up voluntary humanitarian returns from Libya, notably by facilitating the Voluntary Humanitarian Return (VHR) and Reintegration Programme for individuals in Libya who wish to return home voluntarily and are assessed not to be in need of international protection. They called for the abolishing administrative exit fees for those departing from Libya.

The Taskforce called on the enhanced use of Emergency Transit Mechanisms in Niger and Rwanda, and emphasized the need for the international community, including the AU and EU to offer tangible support, notably by considering expanding legal, safe and regular pathways for migrants and refugees. This includes humanitarian corridors and enhanced resettlement places for refugees and voluntary returns and reintegration.

Today’s meeting contributes to delivering on the Joint Vision for 2030 set out at the 6th EU-AU Summit held in Brussels in February 2022, where both continents’ leaders committed to revitalize the work of the joint AU-EU-UN Tripartite Task Force.[1][i]

[i] https://www.consilium.europa.eu/media/54412/final_declaration-en.pdf

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