Over 19,000 migrants repatriated from Libya in 2017

Photo credit: IOM. Migrants repatriated from Libya to Niger.

TMP – 24/01/2017

More than 19,000 migrants were repatriated from Libya by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in 2017.

Following the broadcast of footage by CNN in mid-November which showed African migrants being sold as slaves and other reports of inhuman treatment inside Libya, countries are speeding up efforts to repatriate their nationals from Libyan detention centres. Dubbed as ‘hell’ by many, migrants are held for lengthy periods in deplorable conditions, suffering abuse with no access to legal recourse.

The Coordinator of the IOM Voluntary Return Program in Libya, Juma Ben-Hassan, recently told Xinhua News Agency that his organization has helped 19,370 migrants return to their countries of origin by airlifting them to the capitals of 27 African and Asian countries.

Following an agreement reached by African and European leaders for an emergency evacuation plan in late November 2017, efforts to repatriate migrants stranded in Libyan detention centers has continued in the new year as well.

As part of the plan, Nigerian Foreign Minister Geoffrey Onyama said that his country has started to fly thousands of people back home and that flights would continue until all those who wanted to return home had done so.

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