September 21, 2021

IOM Director General Visits Tripoli as Tragedy of Migrant Deaths at Sea Worsens

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IOM Director General William Lacy Swing arrived in Tripoli, Libya, on 22 March to meet with Libyan authorities and partners regarding the complex migration and displacement situation within the country. This important visit, sadly, was marred by continuing reports of tragedies at sea – including shipwrecks this week that may have taken as many as 240 lives.

IOM director general
IOM Director General William Lacy Swing speaks to migrants at a detention centre in Tripoli, Libya on 22 March 2017. Photo: IOM / Leonard Doyle

The visit was marred by continuing reports of tragedies at sea, including shipwrecks this week that may have taken as many as 240 lives.

“As humanitarians, we can no longer turn our back on the communities affected by the current migration crisis in Libya. This is why IOM is enhancing its support to the most vulnerable people in the country – be they migrants or Libyans,” he continued.

Through his visit, Ambassador Swing sought to raise the profile of the magnitude of the needs of people in Libya, including migrants and Libyans impacted by the conflict and discuss with the Libyan authorities how IOM can strengthen its technical support to these communities within Libya.

Ambassador Swing met with the Chairman of the Presidential Council of the Government of National Accord, Fayes Al Sarraj, the Interior Minister of the Government of National Accord and officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Ambassador Swing also met with migrants at Triq Al Sekka  detention centre, where he also spoke to the Head of the Directorate for Combatting Illegal Migration, Ahmed Issa, about how IOM can continue to support the centre’s migrants through, for example, direct assistance, infrastructure development and voluntary humanitarian return.

IOM Libya this week released new findings from its Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM), reporting an estimated 303,608 internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Libya, a majority of whom have been displaced from areas in the north-east and north-west of the country, particularly in Sirte and some parts of Benghazi.

Displaced Libyans are suffering from a lack of access to essential services, including critical medical assistance, and to economic opportunities. IOM works with local government and communities to promote stability and development for IDPs, migrants and local host communities in Libya, as well as to help establish a better system of managing the migration situation on the ground.

Story courtesy of IOM

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