Libya’s new authorities says migration disaster not its prime precedence | Migration Information
Prime Minister-designate Dbeibah says the country cannot shoulder the burden of the migration crisis on its own.
Libya is unable to tackle the migration crisis on its own, warned the country’s interim prime minister-designate, adding that the The international community should increase its support if surveillance and rescue operations are to be successful.
According to United Nations estimates, there are currently more than 570,000 migrants in Libya.
Libya has become the main transit point for people hoping to reach Europe after the north African country got into a bloody conflict following a NATO-backed uprising in which longtime leader Muammar Gaddafi was overthrown and killed in 2011.
“The problem of migration is not just about Libya … it is a global problem that affects the whole world,” Libyan Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah said at a press conference late last month.
Dbeibah was selected in early February in a United Nations-sponsored inter-Libyan dialogue, the latest internationally-sponsored attempt to save the country from a decade of conflict and fragmented political fiefdoms.
Smugglers often pack desperate families in poorly equipped rubber boats that cannot survive the journey across the Mediterranean.
According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), more than 20,000 people have died in the Mediterranean since 2014.
More than 17,000 of them were in the central Mediterranean, which the United Nations calls the most dangerous migration route in the world.
International organizations have also denounced the return to Libya of people intercepted at sea due to the chaos in the country and poor conditions in prisons.
Since February 2017, at least 36,000 people have been intercepted by the Libyan coast guard and returned to the North African country, according to UN figures.
“At least 3,700 men, women and children were brought back [to Libya] this year, ”the IOM recently said. “Most were taken into custody where the already dire conditions continue to worsen.”
The European Union has reportedly spent more than € 90 million funding and training the Libyan coast guard to stop the crossings.
An Associated Press investigation found that the EU had sent more than € 327.9 million to Libya, largely through UN agencies.