Senior UN officials call for close cooperation to address migrant, refugee flows in Libya

In Libya, Addis, holding his 30-month-old son, Lato, sits in a cell at the Alguaiha detention centre, which houses illegal migrants apprehended while attempting the dangerous voyage across the Mediterranean Sea. Photo: UNICEF/UNI187398/Romenzi

10 February 2017 – The heads of the United Nations agencies for human rights, migrants, and refugees, and the UN envoy for Libya, today met in Geneva calling for international solidarity to address the flows of migrants and refugees in the North African country.

The senior UN officials stressed the need “for a comprehensive approach to address the situation of migrants and refugees in Libya as well as to assist the hundreds of thousands of Libyans displaced and impacted by the crisis,” according to a press release.

The meeting was between the Director-General of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), William Lacy Swing; the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi; the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein; and the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Libya, Martin Kobler.

They called for close cooperation at the regional and international levels, and highlighted the need to protect and rights of migrants and refugees.

“Along with many Libyans, migrants and refugees are heavily impacted by ongoing conflicts and the breakdown in law and order in Libya,” the four senior UN officials said.

They noted that untold numbers of people – particularly those smuggled or trafficked, and those in detention outside of any legal process – face “grave human rights abuses and violations.”

Migrants and refugees are also exposed to malnutrition, extortion, torture, sexual violence and other abuses, according to the joint press release.


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