Thursday

23rd Nov 2017

Most Libya migrants not headed to EU, aid group says

  • Thousands are locked up in notorious detention centres in Libya (Photo: © UNICEF/Romenzi)

Most people that end up in Libya are not seeking to leave for Europe, according to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).

The Geneva-based organisation carried out over 8,000 interviews with migrants in Libya in 2016 and early 2017.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

"What comes out is that 60 percent of those interviewed had always intended to have as a final destination Libya itself," Eugenio Ambrosi, IOM's regional director for the EU, told reporters on Friday (31 March).

The prospect for jobs in the war-torn country remains a lure for many. Others either want to return home or continue onward on their trek.

Anywhere between 700,000 to 1 million migrants are thought to remain in Libya.

The IOM is also running a programme to help those who are stuck in the country to return home. The assistance includes chartering flights, as well as follow-up help once they arrive in their home countries.

Thousands have been helped over the years under the programme, which is set to receive a boost from EU funding.

Earlier this year, the EU announced that it would fund €200 million worth of projects throughout northern Africa, which are geared towards Libya and migration. Around €90 million will end up in Libya itself.

Libya government under fire

But widespread turmoil continues to grip the country, with the UN-backed Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli struggling to maintain a credible foothold.

Tripoli's Busetta naval base, seen as the most secure government-controlled area in the capital city, was reportedly stormed by a militia group only last month.

Aside from the militia groups, the GNA is also under fire from the Tobruk-based Libyan parliament, the House of Representatives.

The Libyan supreme court in March scrapped a migrant curbing agreement, which was signed in February between Italy and the GNA. This was due, in part, to the pressure on the deal from the Libyan parliament.

The court ruling directly challenged the authority of Libya's prime minister, Fayez al-Serraj, to secure such deals, which poses wider questions on his ability to sign off on others in the future.

The plan of the EU is to somehow stabilise the country in an effort to stem the flow of people leaving to reach Italy.

Around 181,000 made the perilous journey last year from Libya, with around 4,500 dying in the attempts.

Another 590 are feared dead out of the 22,000 who have made the same trip since the start of this year.

The EU is training the Libyan coast guard to help rescue people, but those plucked from the sea are sent to a detention centre where they face abuse and possibly even death.

The country has around 31 of such centres, with many run by militia groups and out of any government control.

Around 6,000 migrants are thought to be detained in the centres with some militias demanding ransom payments for their release.

It is unclear how the EU or the GNA intends to wrestle control away from the armed groups, who view the migrants as a valuable commodity.

The original article stated that the IOM conducted 300,000 interviews when in fact it had identified and registered 300,000 migrants in 2016. Of those, they interviewed over 8,000.

Opinion

Letting people drown is not an EU value

NGO boat rescues are being attacked as a pull for migrants, in a harsh logic that letting more people drown would discourage others from coming.

Opinion

The reality of NGO migrant rescues

NGOs rescued a huge number of migrants in 2016, but some argue it encourages more people to embark on perilous journeys to Europe. Are the critics right?

EU monitoring of Libyan coastguard done by Libyans

The EU trains the Libyan coastguard and set up a monitoring mechanism to ensure they respect the human rights of migrants. But the mechanism only requires Libyans to file reports about themselves.

Interview

David Miliband: EU should take over 500,000 refugees

David Miliband heads the US-based International Rescue Committee, an international aid organisation. In an interview with EUobserver, he says the EU should take over 500,000 refugees.

News in Brief

  1. Spain sends migrant arrivals to unfinished prison
  2. Iceland prepares for biggest volcano to blow
  3. Greek parliament postpones debate on Saudi arms deal
  4. Family of murdered Malta journalist to sue police
  5. UK to sell RBS bank stake, boosting government coffers
  6. December euro summit still on, Tusk confirms
  7. EU calls for end to Kenya election crisis
  8. Report: Israeli PM invited to meet EU ministers

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership for Human RightsEU Leaders Should Press Azerbaijan President to End the Detention of Critics
  2. CECEKey Stakeholders to Jointly Tackle the Skills Issue in the Construction Sector
  3. Idealist Quarterly"Dear Politics, Time to Meet Creativity!" Afterwork Discussion & Networking
  4. Mission of China to the EUAmbassador Zhang Ming Received by Tusk; Bright Future for EU-China Relations
  5. EU2017EEEstonia, With the ECHAlliance, Introduces the Digital Health Society Declaration
  6. ILGA EuropeFreedom of Movement For All Families? Same Sex Couple Ask EU Court for Recognition
  7. European Jewish CongressEJC to French President Macron: We Oppose All Contact With Far-Right & Far-Left
  8. EPSUWith EU Pillar of Social Rights in Place, Time Is Ticking for Commission to Deliver
  9. ILGA EuropeBan on LGBTI Events in Ankara Must Be Overturned
  10. Bio-Based IndustriesBio-Based Industries: European Growth is in Our Nature!
  11. Dialogue PlatformErdogan's Most Vulnerable Victims: Women and Children
  12. UNICEFEuropean Parliament Marks World Children's Day by Launching Dialogue With Children

Latest News

  1. Eastern partners, eastern problems
  2. Germany's Schulz under pressure to enter coalition talks
  3. LuxLeaks trial re-opens debate on whistleblowers' protection
  4. Wilders says Russia is 'no enemy' ahead of Moscow visit
  5. EU must put Sudan under microscope at Africa summit
  6. Mali blames West for chaos in Libya
  7. Orban stokes up his voters with anti-Soros 'consultation'
  8. Commission warns Italy over high debt level