By Liby Herald reporter.
Tunis, 9 December 2017:
The EU is giving €30 million to the EU Trust for Africa to address migrant challenges in the Mediterranean – with Libya a particular focus.
Some €10 million will be dedicated to aid ongoing efforts to voluntarily repatriate migrants stranded in North Africa. This will be put into practice by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).
EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini said over 14,000 stranded migrants had already been helped to return home from Libya with plans for another 15,000 by February 2018.
“It will strengthen protection of migrants, support sustainable reintegration systems in North Africa and provide assisted voluntary return to migrants wishing to return to their home from Northern Africa,” an EU statement said.
“With these new programmes, we will step up our commitments, save lives, guarantee the respect of human rights and of international standards, provide alternatives to those wishing to return to their homes and support to host communities,” said Mogherini.
Another €15 million will be put towards dismantling criminal networks involved in smuggling in North Africa, most of which are said to be in Libya. It will provide help and equipment to those dealing with law and criminal justice. The final beneficiaries will be the general public and victims of trafficking.
“The EU Trust Fund for Africa continues to take action to tackle the root causes of irregular migration and to defend the rights of people who risk falling into the hands of traffickers and smugglers,” said Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn.
Earlier this week, the first batch of 504 people were flown from Tripoli to Niamey in a programme to repatriate 3,850 Nigeriens.
It was organised by the IOM and the Niger embassy in Tripoli, and follows an initiative of Niger President Mahamadou Issoufou. Those being repatriated in eight charter flights, one a day until next Wednesday, had registered to return home at the embassy.