Libya and the Central Mediterranean route – a focus of Germany’s refugee and migration policy

11.08.2017 - Article

The situation in Libya and along the Central Mediterranean route is a focus of Germany’s refugee and migration policy. On 11 August, the German Government held discussions on this issue with UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Filippo Grandi and Director General of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) William Swing. Among other things, these talks focused on both the continuing flow of refugees and migrants across the Central Mediterranean and the humanitarian situation in Libya.

Improving the humanitarian situation and creating opportunities in the countries of origin

A refugee camp in Misrata
A refugee camp in Misrata© dpa/Ricardo Garcia

It is crucial that the international community work to improve the situation of people in Libya who are in need of assistance, especially the situation of migrants and refugees. Those who have fled violence and persecution in their home country must be given the protection they need. At the same time, those who have gone to Libya in search of a better life need greater opportunities in their countries of origin. One of the aims is to keep people from embarking on the perilous journey across the Sahara and the Mediterranean.

The UNHCR and the IOM are key partners in this endeavour

The German Government is campaigning for humane treatment of refugees and migrants who have left their home countries and are on the move along migration routes. The UNHCR and the IOM are key partners of the German Government in this regard.

Since late 2016, an IOM project has made available basic services to, and helped to integrate, internally displaced persons, migrants and refugees in southern Libya, which is a key migration route. The Federal Foreign Office has made available 4.5 million euros for this purpose.

In addition, the Federal Foreign Office is providing 5.3 million euros in humanitarian aid for people in need in Libya. From now until 2018, the Federal Foreign Office will also make available 3.5 million euros to the UNHCR, as Foreign Minister Gabriel announced during his trip to Libya in early June.

Efforts of the German Government are part of engagement by the EU

The German Government’s efforts are made within the context of the EU’s relevant activities and target the entire Mediterranean route. The German Government is pursuing a regional approach that includes not only assistance in Libya, which is a main departure point, but also a broad commitment to help in the most important countries of origin, as well as in the host and transit countries in the Sahel and in West Africa.

The fight against human trafficking

Moreover, the German Government supports EU efforts to fight human trafficking. Together with Italy and the European Commission, the Federal Foreign Office co‑funds a regional IOM project that seeks to improve migration management and promote voluntary return to the countries of origin. This project, to which the Federal Foreign Office is contributing 48 million euros over a three‑year period, comprises Libya and 13 other countries in the Sahel region.

Find out more:

Refugee crisis – what German foreign policy is doing

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