Addis Ababa, 5th March, 2018 – The Special Envoy of the African Union Commission (AUC) Chairperson H.E. Amira El-Fadil, AUC Commissioner for Social Affairs on 5th March 2018, briefed the African Union and European Union Member States about the situation of the stranded African migrants in Libya. The briefing was took place at the AU Headquarters during an informal working lunch hosted by the tripartite Task Force of the AU-EU-UN and chaired by the AU.
The Special Envoy thanked the Government and the people of Libya for their continued support and assistance extended to migrants and the efforts being made to facilitate and assist in the implementation of voluntary return programme. She reassured the Libyan authorities of the support of the African Union and that of the concerned Member States to resolve the migrant situation.
In her report to the Member States present, the Special Envoy noted that the operationalization of the tripartite Task Force of the AU-EU-UN was fundamental in enhancing cooperation and coordination of all concerned stakeholders’ efforts aimed at fostering assisted voluntary return of stranded African migrants in Libya who may wish to return to their countries of origin.
Commissioner El-Fadil highlighted the significance of the Committee of Intelligence and Security Services of Africa (CISSA) involvement to further rally efforts to dismantle organized criminal networks operating in Libya and in neighboring states.
The Special Envoy reported that about 3,450 stranded migrants still remain in Libyan authorities controlled detention centres as of 22 February 2018, as opposed to 20,000 during her first visit in November 2017. While, welcoming the Libyan authorities’ decision to close up to 20 detention centres under its control, the Special Envoy also noted that “the situation in Libya still warrants our serious attention”.
Worth nothing that Libya remains host to about 621,706 migrants, according to International Organization for Migration (IOM). While 19,370 migrants were facilitated to return home in 2017 and 14,000 have been assisted to return and 2,000 evacuated to third countries in lieu of processing their resettlement claims post Abidjan AU-EU Summit of November 2017 to date under the coordination of the Task Force.
H.E. El-Fadil further underlined that access to migrants in detention centers remains crucial in the return programme for concerned Member States to identify and issue their nationals emergency travel documents and for the international community to fulfill their respective mandates in providing protection and humanitarian assistance.
The Special Envoy indicated in her report that the focus of the Task Force in the next three months remains on those who voluntarily wish to return home and that the AU will continue to collaborate with the Libyan authorities, concerned Member States and the international community to support the assisted voluntary humanitarian evacuations and reintegration efforts in countries of origin.
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