IOM Strengthens Border Management Cooperation between Libya and its Neighbours through Improved Protection of Vulnerable Migrants

IOM strengthens border management cooperation between Libya and its neighbours through improved protection of vulnerable migrants

Tripoli — A regional workshop ‘An integrated approach to rights-based border management in crisis situations in Libya and its neighbouring countries’, co-chaired by the Libyan Government of National Unity, the African Union and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) centres on a rights-based approach to border management to enhance dialogue and cooperation mechanisms between Libya and its neighbouring countries in North and Sub-Sahara Africa.

The workshop, funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration, aims to enhance the capacity of participants to deal with the challenges related to managing borders in crisis and emergency situations by promoting cross-border cooperation and community engagement, improving search and rescue in the desert aimed at protecting vulnerable migrants, and strengthening regional cooperation mechanisms to disrupt the criminal activities of migrant smugglers.

During the 3-day workshop, 21-23 September, the delegations from Libya, Algeria, Burkina Faso, Chad, Côte d'Ivoire, Egypt, Mali, Niger, Sudan and Tunisia will present on issues related to border management and adherence to international standards, as well as expertise from UNODC, UNOCT, Frontex and the Italian Ministry of Interior.

Additionally, IOM will present best international practices based on the Organization’s rights-based approach to programming with human rights considerations mainstreamed throughout the programme. Border management – while a sovereign prerogative of States – must be aligned with States’ obligations under international and regional law, including the protection of migrants in vulnerable situations.

“Libya and its neighbouring countries share common challenges related to border management and activity of smuggling and trafficking networks,” said Federico Soda, IOM Libya Chief of Mission. “It is now, more than ever, the time for coordinated action to respond to the needs of migrants and protect them from exploitation by criminal groups through enhanced humanitarian border management in emergencies and ensuring secure borders while at the same time respecting the human rights of migrants, and addressing their needs regardless of immigration status.”

The African Union stated it will present its mechanism related to border issues and its role in direct response to the challenges of existing and potential border issues in Africa. Regional Economic Communities and Regional Economic Mechanisms are important in enhancing the monitoring of borders, it stated, as well as the exchange of information platforms among member States to fight organized crime and terrorist activities.

“Libya and neighbouring countries should work hand in hand to achieve shared border management goals,” said Essam Elghffa, Head of Libya’s International Organizations department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

The vast desert borders of Libya and of its neighbouring countries have been witnessing a high level of mixed migration flows, including trafficking in persons and migrant smuggling. The current COVID-19 pandemic represents a further challenge to border management deepening the need for enhanced coordination between Libya and its neighbouring countries.

Libya shares more than 4,300 km of land borders with six countries. According to the latest IOM-DTM report, despite the pandemic, the analysis of migrants’ journeys confirms that Libya’s neighbouring countries, in particular Niger, Chad, Sudan and Egypt, continue to play a key role as transit countries along the main migration routes. Nationals of countries bordering Libya also constitute the majority of migrants in the country.

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