- Title: IOM expects to fly up to 10,000 migrants out of Libya in 2017
- Date: 31st March 2017
- Summary: TUNIS, TUNISIA (MARCH 30, 2017) (REUTERS) (SOUNDBITE) (English) IOM CHIEF OF LIBYA MISSION, OTHMAN BELBEISI, SAYING: "In 2016 the number increased to 2,775. In the first three months of 2017 we already reached 1,624, and our target for the year is between 7 and 10,000. The return program definitely is not based on what IOM plans or the number we plan to move, but it's based on the needs of the people. So, based on the requests we receive and the eligibility of people who request the return to be returned under the voluntary return program." TRIPOLI, LIBYA (MARCH 21, 2017) (REUTERS) VARIOUS EXTERIORS OF MITIGA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT VARIOUS OF BUS WITH MIGRANTS ARRIVING AT AIRPORT VARIOUS OF MIGRANTS DISEMBARKING BUS IOM STAFF STANDING AT AIRPORT ENTRANCE AS MIGRANTS WALK IN MIGRANTS WALKING INTO AIRPORT TUNIS, TUNISIA (MARCH 30, 2017) (REUTERS) (SOUNDBITE) (English) IOM CHIEF OF LIBYA MISSION, OTHMAN BELBEISI, SAYING: "In the past, the total percentage of those returnees, we were focusing on the most vulnerable, of 20 percent of the returned population would receive reintegration assistance, and we used to call it 'individual reintegration assistance'. In our programs last year, we raised this percentage to 50 percent in agreement with our donors. Knowing that the program has two parts; the return, and this means also taking people out of the dangerous area or out of the risk, (and) their integration is helping them to start a new life." TRIPOLI, LIBYA (MARCH 21, 2017) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF MIGRANTS QUEUING UP OUTSIDE AIRPORT TERMINAL VARIOUS OF WOMEN AND CHILDREN SITTING OUTSIDE AIRPORT TERMINAL TUNIS, TUNISIA (MARCH 30, 2017) (REUTERS) (SOUNDBITE) (English) IOM CHIEF OF LIBYA MISSION, OTHMAN BELBEISI, SAYING: "You can say a big percentage, maybe 60 or 70 percent. But we have East Africa, this year we started also the number of returns to Bangladesh increased also, so I would say it's not limited to one country, but yes, this year the largest number is to Nigeria, Senegal, Mali. TRIPOLI, LIBYA (MARCH 21, 2017) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF WOMEN AND CHILDREN OUTSIDE AIRPORT TERMINAL TUNIS, TUNISIA (MARCH 30, 2017) (REUTERS) (SOUNDBITE) (English) IOM CHIEF OF LIBYA MISSION, OTHMAN BELBEISI, SAYING: "To be honest in the last two years it was a big constraint, now this year we are getting more support for this specific program. Again, their integration component is directly linked now with their countries of origin and countries of return, and we are advocating for full reintegration packages for all the returnees because we believe all of them are vulnerable. If you reach this point and you have no means to go back home, then at least you need a chance to start a new life." IOM AND LIBYA FLAGS IN BELBEISI'S OFFICE BELBEISI SEATED AT DESK
- Embargoed: 14th April 2017 13:10
- Keywords: Libya Migrants Africa Europe IOM return
- Location: TRIPOLI, LIBYA AND TUNIS, TUNISIA
- City: TRIPOLI, LIBYA AND TUNIS, TUNISIA
- Country: Libya
- Topics: Asylum/Immigration/Refugees,Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA0026AAGQIV
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Up to 10,000 migrants stranded in Libya will be flown back to their home countries this year, but the returns can only play a limited role in tackling migrant flows toward Europe, the head of the U.N. migration agency's Libyan office said.
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) program is one of the few ways EU states can fund action inside lawless Libya, which has become the main migration departure point for Europe, as they scramble to stem record flows across the central Mediterranean.
Other plans have been held up by poor security, political resistance and a lack of government control in Libya, where powerful militias and smuggling networks act with impunity.
The IOM scheme is meant to offer a way out to those stuck in Libya without money, work, or a means to move on, said Othman Belbeisi, the agency's chief of mission for Libya. It is voluntary, with each migrant interviewed individually and able to change their mind at any time.
The IOM flew 2,775 migrants back last year, and is expecting to increase that number to between 7,000 and 10,000 in 2017, with new European funding.
This year, 1,795 migrants have already been sent back, and another 5,000 are seeking assistance to return. The agency has received a higher rate of requests since late 2016, something Belbeisi attributed to worsening conditions inside Libya.
Most are flown to West Africa, with Nigeria, Senegal and Mali topping the list. There have also been returns to East Africa and Bangladesh.
The average cost of returning and assisting a migrant is about 2,000 euros ($2,135). Funding for the program comes mainly from European states.
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