AU, EU & UN to enhance cooperation with Libyan authorities on migration

2017 images from the slave camp in Libya
2017 images from the slave camp in Libya

The African Union (AU), the European Union (EU), and the UN have pledged to further enhance cooperation with Libyan authorities in the joint response to migration and protection challenges.

According to a joint statement on Monday, the three organisations urged improved conditions of migrants and refugees in detention centers in Libya, including by providing unhindered access to UN agencies and humanitarian actors, as well as ensure the protection and release of vulnerable people.

A high-level mission of AU, EU, and UN made a visit to Libya on Friday as a follow-up to the meeting of the joint AU-EU-UN task force in Brussels, Belgium, in December 2017.

Members of the joint mission have met with the Libyan Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mohammed Sialla, and other Libyan officials including the Deputy Minister of Interior, and the Director of the General Directorate for Combatting Illegal Migration, and they have visited a detention centre for migrants and a shelter for internally displaced people.

The joint mission has welcomed progress achieved with the Voluntary Humanitarian Return of 19,370 migrants back to their countries of origin in 2017, and 9,379 since the Nov. 28, 2017 to date.

In parallel, 1,211 refugees have been evacuated from Libya to Niger in view of their resettlement since December 2017.

The joint mission has called for additional efforts to ensure the protection of refugees, including by allowing the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) to work beyond the seven official nationalities recognised by the Libyan government in the framework of their evacuation out of Libya for their resettlement.

The mission has also underlined the need to implement a comprehensive and systematic registration at disembarkation points and in detention centers by Libyan authorities, with the support of International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and UNHCR, to ensure the safety and traceability of all refugees and migrants.

They further highlighted the importance of improving the conditions of migrants and refugees in detention centers.

The joint mission has acknowledged that re-opening of the IOM shelter for vulnerable migrants must be a priority and the progress in establishing a transit and departure centre for refugees.

According to the AU.EU and UN, in the coming weeks, the Operational Level of the Task Force will continue to engage and collaborate with the Libyan authorities in order to consolidate the progress that has already been made.