International agreement to carry out emergency evacuations of migrants and UNHCR sets up onground centers to facilitate deportations out of Libya

An agreement for the emergency evacuation of migrants in Libya was reached at the African Union-European Union summit in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. The agreement was discussed in the presence of the European Union, the African Union, and the United Nations. Nine countries present agreed to undertake the initiative – Libya, France, Germany, Chad, Morocco, Italy, Congo and Niger.   

French President Emmanuel Macron stated that the participants in the summit agreed to establish a committee to investigate smuggling, to work on dismantling smuggling, and freezing smugglers’ assets.

In addition, it has been noted that President of the Presidential Council, Fayez Al-Sarraj, has allowed the International Organization for Migration access to migrant camps in preparation for the evacuations. Macron added that evacuation will be coordinated with the countries of origin but that particularly at risk migrants could be given asylum in Europe. The UNHCR representative for Libya, Roberto Megnoni, stated that the main objective of the centers is to accelerate the process of reaching solutions in third countries, especially for unaccompanied children and women, and to evacuate them to emergency centers run by UNHCR in other countries or voluntarily return them to their countries.

UNHCR noted that they had deported the first group of 25 migrants from Libya to Niger, pending their transfer to France; signaling the start of the agreement.

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