Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 31 January 2018 - The AU-EU-UN Task Force on the Stranded Migrants situation in Libya held the Seventh meeting of the Task Force in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The meeting was chaired by the Special Envoy of the Chairperson, H.E. Madam Amira Elfadil, and Commissioner for Social Affairs and attended by the AU Special Representative for Libya and Head of the AU Liaison Office in Libya now based in Tunis, Tunisia. The meeting was also attended by the EU Ambassador to the AU and the directors from the IOM and UNHCR.
The Commissioner of Social Affairs/Special Envoy of the Chairperson in her briefing informed the meeting that migration was top on the agenda of the just concluded summit and that all documents as relates to migration were adopted by the Assembly, including the Protocol on Free Movement and the Roadmap for its implementation, the Revised Migration Policy Framework and the statute on African Institute of Remittances. Further, reiterating the mandate of the Task Force is to facilitate voluntary humanitarian evacuations of stranded African migrants from Libya that should come to end on May 2018. The Commissioner called on the need to establish through a registration exercise the accurate number of migrants in Libya, as well as efforts to dismantle detention centers and, work towards decriminalization of migrants in Libya through enhancement of the legislative capacity of the Libyan authorities to manage migration in all its dimensions. Reemphasizing that these could only be achieved with close collaboration with Libyan authorities and, with support from the international system, to stabilize Libya.
The AU Special Representative for Libya on her part, reiterated the centrality of closing detention centers and the need to work closely with Libyan authorities to harmonize migrant statistics in a manner that aids proper planning. Adding her voice on the need to explore other possibilities for effecting returns, including evacuation by land from Libya to the nearest airport in Tunisia for eventual airlifts to countries of return.
The meeting was informed that a total of 12,401 migrants have been returned after the Abidjan Summit in November 2017, of which 4,519 migrants were assisted by their respective countries of origin to return home.
The meeting noted the importance of the efforts to be deployed on reintegration in countries of return. The meeting also noted the need for comprehensive legislative framework review to assist the Libyan authorities to manage the migration situation.
Finally, the Task Force welcomed the proposal to enhance AU presence in Libya and scheduled a Tripartite Task Force mission to Libya to be held 21 – 22 February 2018.