UNHCR appeals for US$421 million to help African migrants

TMP – 04/08/2017

The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) has appealed for US$421 million to help protect and create meaningful alternatives for African migrants heading to Europe.

UNHCR says it wants to improve the protection of refugees and migrants in Sub-Saharan Africa and those crossing the Sahara Desert and the Mediterranean Sea.

“The movement of refugees and migrants across the Sahara and the Mediterranean is taking a devastating toll on human life,” said UNHCR Special Envoy to the Central Mediterranean Situation Vincent Cochetel.

“We need to provide meaningful and viable alternatives to these movements or the deaths and the suffering will continue to mount. We want to scale up existing activities or implement new ones to provide effective ways and means to protect refugees and asylum seekers along the various routes leading to Libya, and support the engagement of all stakeholders in these efforts,” Cochetel added.

The funds would be used to raise awareness of the risks of irregular migration, improve communication with members of the community likely to undertake such journeys, support law enforcement mechanisms, address human trafficking and ensure humanitarian assistance to those rescued at sea.

In north Africa, UNHCR wants to improve the protection of migrants, provide training support to the Libyan coastguard services and ensure humanitarian assistance is provided to those rescued at sea.

As the number of African migrants arriving in Europe through Libya increases, the risks facing these migrants are growing. In the first six months of this year, at least 2,170 migrants have died or gone missing in the Central Mediterranean, and many others are believed to have died before even reaching the Mediterranean coast.