MSF calls for new humanitarian corridors for migrants stranded in Libya

Western countries must evacuateurgently“the most vulnerable migrants stranded in Libya, claims the French NGO Médecins sans frontières (MSF) in a report published Monday, June 20, proposing in particular the opening of new “humanitarian corridors“.

The few legal exit routes set up by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) are toorestrictive and slow», justifies Jérôme Tubiana, the author of the report. “In Libya, the vast majority of exiles are victims of arbitrary detention, torture and violence, including sexual violence. Their possibilities of physical and legal protection are extremely limited and fragile. As a result, the very often deadly migration route via the Mediterranean Sea is sometimes their only escape.“, denounces the NGO whose publication coincides with World Refugee Day.

MSF is therefore calling for the generalization of the mechanism set up with Italy, where “a humanitarian corridor has already been opened and allows the exit of a certain number of people in a situation of great vulnerability“. “This type of mechanism must be able to be duplicated“, considers one of the rare NGOs intervening with migrants in Libya, calling “to speed up urgently» their evacuation. “Organizations do not consider migrant vulnerability criteria. The device is totally unsuitable for those who are most in danger and who try to cross the sea to escapesays Jérôme Tubiana, referring to the migrant registration system, mainly managed by the UNHCR and which only takes into account nine nationalities.

600,000 exiled in Libya

Of the 40,000 people on the UNHCR lists, only 1,662 were able to leave Libya in 2021 thanks to so-called “resettlement“. And 3,000 people have benefited from the “voluntary returnfrom IOM. “Some of the first to be listed in 2017 are still there“, emphasizes Jérôme Tubiana. The report estimates the number of exiles in Libya at 600,000.

Faced with this situation, the NGO sees in the humanitarian corridors a solution “faster and more open“, with “fewer selection criteria», continues Jérôme Tubiana. To build this protocol, it joined forces with the Sant’Egidio organization, which has already set up a humanitarian corridor between Lebanon and France since 2017, to transport Syrian or Iraqi refugees there. A total of 550, to date, confirms the president of Sant’Egidio Valérie Régnier, who ensures that “lace” who “walking“:”It is a proven protocol in terms of integration», with people spread over 43 French departments and «who stay there“. MSF and Sant’Egidio claim to be holding discussions on these corridors with a dozen countries including France, Canada and the United States. The medical NGO also insists that EU states cease their political or financial support for the system of forced returns to Libya when migrants are intercepted at sea.

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