AU supports 5,200 migrants return from Libya – IOM

Some evacuated Nigerians living in Libya arriving Port Harcourt International Airport on Sunday (7/1/18).0104/7/1/18/Chidi Ohalete/TA/NAN
File photo of Some evacuated Nigerians living in Libya arriving Port Harcourt International Airport on Sunday (7/1/18).0104/7/1/18/Chidi Ohalete/TA/NAN

The African Union (AU) has supported 5,200 migrants to return home safely from Libya since November 2017, the International Organisation for Migration’s (IOM) Mission in Libya, has said.

Othman Belbeisi, Chief of IOM Mission in Libya, said thousands of migrants had also returned home safely from the war-ravaged country since 2017 through a UN-supported programme.

“We are continuing to assist migrants inside Libyan detention centres, while increasing efforts to reach stranded migrants outside of detention.

“Since the expansion of our Voluntary Humanitarian Return (VHR) operation, the number of migrants in official detention centres have dropped from an estimated 20,000 people in October 2017 to 4,000 people today, a five-fold decrease”.

He said since January 2017, some 23,302 migrants had repatriated through the VHR programme, which consists of the European Union (EU), AU and Libyan Government.

He said IOM in Libya was also working with the authorities to register migrants, provide lifesaving assistance in the form of health care and essential aid items, psychosocial support, improve consular services and projects promoting community stabilisation.

He said nearly half of voluntary returns executed by IOM from Libya were part of the larger EU-IOM Joint Initiative on Migrant Protection and Reintegration initiative that supported reintegration for returnees in countries of origin.

According to him, the initiative is active in Libya as well as 26 countries in North Africa, the Sahel and the Lake Chad region, and the Horn of Africa.

IOM Regional Director for the EU, Eugenio Ambrosi, said the VHR operation’s scale of protection needs and number of returns had overtaken initial planning and pose challenges for countries of origin.

Mr. Ambrosi said: “We are embarking on a completely new approach to reintegration and we believe in it.

“It will take some time to build, and in cooperation with authorities in countries of origin and the local communities, we are already seeing promising developments.”

He said with partners, IOM had been scaling up activities to meet the surge in returnees and ensure assistance upon their arrival, and in the longer-term – to readjust to their communities.

Mr. Ambrosi said the programme also offered re-integration assistance for those returning from EU States.

Support PREMIUM TIMES' journalism of integrity and credibility


Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.

For continued free access to the best investigative journalism in the country we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.

By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.


NEVER MISS A THING AGAIN! Subscribe to our newsletter

* indicates required


Now available on

  Premium Times Android mobile applicationPremium Times iOS mobile applicationPremium Times blackberry mobile applicationPremium Times windows mobile application

TEXT AD: New Discovery! Click Here To See A Miracle Device That Can Cure DIABETES, BLOOD PRESSURE, STROKE, ARTHRITIS, PAINS, OBESITY And 50 Other CHRONIC DISEASES Without Drugs Or Herbs.. Click Here Now To See It

All rights reserved. This material and any other material on this platform may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, written or distributed in full or in part, without written permission from PREMIUM TIMES.