African migrants evacuated from Libya as conditions in lawless nation worsen
TMP – 14/11/2017
A group of “extremely vulnerable” African migrants who had been stuck in virtually lawless Libya have been evacuated to Niger, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) said this week.
The group included 15 women, six men and four children from Eritrea, Ethiopia and Sudan, UNHCR said.
Libya has been a major hub for the smuggling of migrants into Europe since the country fell into a civil war defined by chaos, instability and brutality.
Many migrants have found themselves victim to horrific abuse and exploitation at the hands of human traffickers who are known to regularly kidnap, torture and extort even the most vulnerable of migrants.
“We are taking people out of a very dangerous situation,” UNHCR spokesman William Spindler told news agency Agence France Presse.
Evacuating the migrants from Libya should make it easier for possible resettlement countries to evaluate their cases and Niger has agreed to host the group until their resettlement claims are processed.
UNHCR called on countries around the world to step up and offer resettlement to other refugees stranded in 15 countries along the Central Mediterranean migration route. Only 6,700 resettlement places have been provided this year so far.
Vincent Cochetel, UNHCR’s Special Envoy for the Central Mediterranean Situation, reiterated the UN agency’s call for the creation of “more regular and safe ways for refugees to find safety and international protection,” in a bid to stop them from embarking on dangerous journeys across the Sahara Desert and the Mediterranean Sea.