Tag Archives: IOM

EU top diplomats focus on Libya

“First of all, we will hold a discussion on Libya. I just met with the UN Special Envoy [for Libya, Ghassan] Salamé in Brussels a couple of days ago, and I will report to the Ministers about the state of play in Tripoli, in Libya”, said EU top diplomat Federica Mogherini upon her arrival to the Council for EU foreign ministers in Luxembourg.

The European Union will search for the ways to reinforce the  support to the United Nations, both in political process, but also on economic reforms and on security arrangements.

There will  be separate discussion on the external work on illegal migration together with the UN Refugee Agency and of the  International Organisation for Migration IOM, headed by the newly elected IOM Director General António Manuel de Carvalho Ferreira, who will  join ministers by video conference from Geneva. While Filippo Grandi will arrive to Luxembourg meeting.

“We will focus on the different strands of work we have been putting in place, also in view of the European Council that is meeting in Brussels later this week. We will prepare the ground for the Prime Ministers and Heads of States to review the work we are doing and indicate where Member States are ready to do more, in which fields of action, on the external side of migration” Mogherini underlined.

Central African Republic (CAR) will be the other point of agenda, assessing the possible ways for aid to the country in ‘difficult conditions”, the diplomat underlined.

Increase of deaths in Mediterranean sea

The tragic weekend deaths of an estimated 103 people, including three babies, when the rubber dinghy they were on sank off the coast of Libya.

The Libyan Coast Guard rescued 16 survivors: young men from the Gambia, Sudan, Yemen, Niger and Guinea.

The incident was followed on Sunday by the capsizing of a small rubber boat off the Libyan port city of Al Khums, east of the capital, Tripoli. The vessel was packed with migrants and while 41 people survived, 100 are reported missing.

During this same time period, the Libyan Coast Guard intercepted several small vessels heading towards the open sea, returning nearly 1,000 migrants to shore.

The people were provided with food, water and health care, as well as other emergency assistance, and were interviewed by IOM staff.  They were later transferred to detention centres, where IOM continues to provide humanitarian assistance.

The Libyan Coast Guard has returned some 10,000 people to shore so far this year, according to IOM. Othman Belbeisi, its Libya Chief of Mission, reported an “alarming increase” in deaths at sea.

“Smugglers are exploiting the desperation of migrants to leave before there are further crackdowns on Mediterranean crossings by Europe,” Othman Belbeisi said.

Migrants shipwreck at Tunisian coast

Coastguards continue to recover bodies of migrants drowned in a shipwreck in the Mediterranean on Sunday (3/05/2018), reportedly the boat had sank next to Tunisian coast.

Tunisian authorities said 47 bodies were recovered off the country’s southern coast, close to the city of Sfax, while NGOs presume there were more passengers on the crowded boat.

The coastguard and the navy continue their search with the support of a military plane,” the interior ministry said in a statement.

The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) spokesman Flavio Di Giacomo cautioning on Twitter that the final number of missing was still uncertain.

Meanwhile on a visit to Sicily Italy’s new interior minister, Matteo Salvini, said that the island must stop being “the refugee camp of Europe“.

The leader of the Lega Nord party said his government’s plans on migrants were not “hard line… but common sense”.

Salvini added that increasing deportations and limiting new arrivals would end up in saving lives, discouraging illegal migrants to take a risky adventure in Mediterranean waters.

Sex-traffic from Nigeria at raise

The International Organisation for Migration reports a sharp raise in the number of African girls being trafficked to Europe, especially from Nigeria.

Over the past three years, IOM Italy has seen an almost 600 per cent increase in the number of potential sex trafficking victims arriving in Italy by sea. This upward trend has continued during the first six months of 2017, with most victims arriving from Nigeria.

This is one of the key findings of a new report published by IOM, the UN Migration Agency, Human Trafficking through the Central Mediterranean Route, which was released in Italian this week (21 July) by IOM’s Coordination Office for the Mediterranean in Rome. A translation from Italian to English will be available soon.

Among other findings, the report states that sexual exploitation increasingly involves younger girls – often minors – who are already subject to violence and abuse on their way to Europe. IOM estimates that 80 per cent of girls arriving from Nigeria – whose numbers have soared from 1,454 in 2014 to 11,009 in 2016 – are potential victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation.

The report is based on data collected by IOM at landing sites and in reception centres for migrants in the regions of southern Italy, where the Organization carries out identification of potential victims and assists those who, once identified, decide to escape their exploiters and accept IOM support.

“Trafficking is a transnational crime that devastates the lives of thousands of people and is the cause of untold suffering,” said Federico Soda, Director of the IOM Coordinating Office for the Mediterranean. “This is a theme we have been working on for years, committing to protect, prevent and collaborate with the authorities dealing with organized crime.”

“The report describes the organization’s activities in the face of this phenomenon: the difficulties in protecting victims and the main vulnerabilities identified among several cases of people who were assisted by the Organization. We also wanted to tell some of the stories of people who have been assisted by IOM staff to highlight the true nature of this painful and hateful form of slavery. We also feel that it is increasingly urgent that data analysis be accompanied by an examination of the market these girls supply, and the growing demand for paid sexual services,” – IOM Project Manager Carlotta Santarossa concluded.