Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) “Doctors Without Borders” called Monday on European and North American states, among others, to offer protection to migrants currently trapped in Libya, saying there needs to be an urgent acceleration in the evacuation of the most vulnerable people by strengthening existing mechanisms and opening alternative pathways for them to leave the country.
MSF operations manager for Libya, Claudia Lodesani, said in Libya, the majority of migrants are victims of arbitrary detention, torture and violence, including sexual violence, adding that they have extremely limited possibilities of obtaining physical and legal protection and as a result, the deadly migration route via the Mediterranean Sea is often their only way out.
MSF added in its report that the few legal pathways to safe countries set up by the UN’s Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) are slow and restrictive.
“Only nine nationalities can be considered for registration in the UNHCR’s resettlement program, and access to registration is almost non-existent for people outside Tripoli, and stuck in detention centers.” It said.
MSF indicated that of the approximate 40,000 people registered with the UNHCR’s resettlement program just 1,662 left Libya last year, while some 3,000 people left through the IOM’s voluntary return program. In contrast, around 600,000 migrants live in Libya in total.