Libya - To commemorate International Migrants Day on 18 December 2017 and to celebrate and shed light on the positive impact of migration on our society the UN Migration Agency (IOM) organized activities and events in the east, west and south of Libya.
In Tripoli, IOM, with the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, held a photo exhibition in Corinthia hotel, including portraits and human stories of migrants who call Libya their home after having lived and worked in Tripoli many years. The portraits are also be part of IOM’s global ‘I’m a migrant’ campaign with the purpose of putting a human face to migration. More than 110 Government officials, Embassy representatives, partners, migrants and others visited the exhibition.
“Historically migration has always been overwhelmingly positive and that is why we are here today, to commemorate the positive impact of migration on our society,” explained IOM Libya Chief of Mission Othman Belbeisi at the photo exhibition.
As part of the exhibition, IOM also shed light on a collaboration between IOM and Tripoli University where students were trained on migration reporting. Exhibited were also portraits of some of the students sharing their personal interpretation of what migration means to them. During the exhibition visitors also wrote down their own meaning of migration and could watch IOM’s virtual reality video Through Libya with Hope and Despair, produced in partnership with UNSMIL.
On the same day, IOM arranged multiple activities across Tripoli, in Janzour detention centre, IOM and its implementing partner Multakana offered migrants a chance to call their families in their home countries.
One of them, Mary, with 4 children, was transferred from Sabratha detention centre to Janzour 3 months ago and she had not spoken to her husband since then, yesterday she got a chance to talk to him. Parallel in Multakana cultural centre in Abu Slim, one movie from the Global Migration Film Festival was screened and more than 230 migrants from for example Mali, Egypt, Chad and Niger enjoyed outdoor games including football. A local band was also playing African music resulting in a cheerful atmosphere which made the people dance and sing along.
In addition, beginning on the International Migrants Day, IOM will support migrants in Benghazi, Sabha and Ubari throughout the week with provision of non-food items and hygiene kits, as well as humanitarian services such as basic health care and psychosocial first aid; facilitation of contact with embassies or families; referral to support services including to secondary/tertiary healthcare, to foster families and to voluntary humanitarian return (VHR). This is a stepping stone to setting up the IOM “Migrant Resource and Response Mechanism” (MRRM) in Libya. The overall objective of the MRRM is to support Libya’s response to complex migration flows through the development of an efficient mechanism to manage migration and to strengthen national capacities in order to promote alternatives to irregular migration as well as to provide direct humanitarian assistance to migrants along the migratory route.
MRRM activities are currently ongoing in Benghazi and Sabha. In Benghazi, additional services will be provided in Shaat and al Baida detention centres during the coming days. To balance the provision of assistance to different communities and ensure that no one is left out, the same activities will target vulnerable IDPs and returnees in the east and south of Libya. Overall IOM will provide services to 300 IDP families and 1,200 migrants in Benghazi, 350 IDP families and 1,500 migrants in Sabha and 350 IDP families and 1,500 migrants in Ubari.
During the distributions in Benghazi, IOM will also organize screenings of migration movies as part of the Global Migration Film Festival. Additional movie screenings will be organized for students in the media faculty of Tripoli University and for members of local NGOs in Benghazi. The movie screenings will be followed by debates on the topic of migration facilitated by IOM.