Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel issued the following statement today (4 December):
The situation in Libya continues to be a source of grave concern to us. Refugees and migrants in the country are still in desperate straits.
This is why we are providing 120 million euros in funding, thus boosting the EU Trust Fund for Africa, which has significant shortfalls as regards funding for North Africa and especially Libya, and helping to facilitate the implementation of the conclusions of the AU EU Summit in Abidjan.
In providing support to Libya, our aim is to alleviate human suffering, stabilise the country and strengthen the Government. The Government must gain control quickly over the entire country and do its work for the benefit of its own population. How Libya develops and what happens in the country also affects us in Europe and Germany. We will continue to support Libya on its path to stabilisation.
Several key issues are involved in our support.
Firstly, we want better protection for refugees and migrants in Libya, who are still forced to live in detention centres, at times in terrible conditions.
Secondly, we want more effective aid for the large number of migrants who urgently wish to return to their country of origin.
Thirdly, permanent and safe solutions must be found for the people in Libya identified as refugees by UNHCR. This also involves enabling them to resettle in Europe and other regions. France has made a start by accepting a first group of 25 people, who were initially flown from Tripoli to the Niger, from where they are due to travel to France. This is part of an EU resettlement programme, which needs to be expanded rapidly in the coming months. Our additional funding will facilitate this expansion.
Fourthly, people smugglers and human traffickers’ criminal activities can only be combated effectively if towns and villages along the route have economic opportunities. One aim of the additional funding is thus to help Libyan towns and villages, which are mostly very poor outside the oil rich regions, to create legal jobs and earning opportunities.
The funding includes 20 million euros to boost UNHCR’s humanitarian protection and aid measures in Libya, thus ensuring that refugees receive urgently needed support. It will be used to provide food and primary health care to refugees. In addition, UNHCR wants to expand freely accessible alternatives to detention centres and to support people in need in more remote areas in Libya by providing them with urgently required aid.
The additional funding will also enable the EU and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), which will receive an extra 30 million euros in the near future, to do far more to help migrants who want to return to their country of origin. IOM has already helped 13,000 people to return home voluntarily and now plans to significantly increase this support.
In providing additional funding, Germany is also complying with the call by the European Council of 19 October to ensure sufficient and targeted funding for the EU Trust Fund for Africa (EUTF) by December. Germany is providing a total of 100 million euros to the EUTF. This includes the above mentioned 30 million euros for IOM. In addition, UNHCR will receive 20 million euros, as mentioned above.