The International Organization for Migration (IOM) on Friday called on the European Union and the African Union for an urgent shift in approaching the situation of illegal immigrants in Libya.
“IOM renews its call to the European Union and the African Union, for an urgent shift in approach to the situation in Libya. Immediate action must be taken to dismantle the detention system and find alternative solutions to safeguard lives,” IOM said in a statement.
IOM said that during the past 48 hours, more than 600 illegal immigrants, including women and children, have been discovered on the central Mediterranean route.
“IOM is deeply concerned about the safety of migrants who are vulnerable to clashes, human trafficking and abuse as the security situation further deteriorates. Libya is not a safe port; there is a need for a predictable and safe disembarkation mechanism for migrants fleeing violence and abuse,” said IOM Libya Chief of Mission Federico Soda.
IOM estimated that more than 8,600 illegal immigrants have been returned to overcrowded detention centers in Libya, where the UN documented “unacceptable conditions, violations of human rights and disappearances.”
Thousands of illegal immigrants, mostly Africans, choose to cross the Mediterranean Sea toward Europe from Libya, because of the insecurity and chaos that have plagued Libya since the 2011 uprising that toppled the late leader Muammar Gaddafi’s regime.
The United Nations Higher Commission of Refugees has repeatedly stressed that Libya is not a safe port for disembarkation of refugees because of the deteriorating security conditions.
Libya’s eastern-based army and the UN-backed government have been fighting since early April over control of the capital Tripoli, an armed conflict that claimed many lives, including immigrants. Enditem