UN: Evacuation of migrants’ deal from Libya at risk

GIOVANNI ISOLINO/AFP/Getty

 

International efforts to release people from Libyan detention centres to Niger have hit a deadlock, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) has warned.
 
A senior official from the UN agency told MEPs in the European Parliament on Monday (5 March) that if more refugees and asylum seekers were not dispatched onwards from Niger to EU states, then the country may stop taking in people from Libya, EUobserver reported Monday.
 
“We were advised that until more people leave Niger, we will no longer be able to evacuate additional cases from Libya,” siad Karmen Sakhr, who oversees the North Africa unit at the UNHCR.
 
The European Union, along with the African Union, had last November promised to evacuate thousands of migrants stuck in Libyan detention centres following CNN footage of people being auctioned off as slaves for $400 a head.
 
But of the 1,020 sent to Niger so far under the UN agency’s watch, only 25 have left, all of which went to France. Some 312 were sent from Libya to Italy and another two went to Romania, Euobserver added.
 
“There is a need for the countries to come forward when it comes to accepting these cases,” noted the UN official.
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