The United Nations, the European Union and the African Union have agreed to put in place a joint Task Force to save and protect lives of migrants and refugees along the routes and in particular inside Libya.
The decision was made Wednesday during a meeting on the sidelines of the African Union-European Union Summit that brought together UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, and the High Representative/Vice President Federica Mogherini.
The meeting discussed concrete steps to address jointly the dramatic situation of migrants and refugees victims of criminal networks, in particular inside Libya.
The dire situation of migrants in Libya came under the spot-light lately after CNN aired a shocking video footage showing Sub-Saharans being sold at an auction in Libya slave markets. The video, showing migrants referred to as “merchandise” sold off for $400, triggered a global outrage.
It is probably the appalling video footage that has prompted the three organizations to set up the joint task force that will hopefully put an end to the misery of the migrants stranded in Libya and dismantle the rampant human trafficking networks in the lawless North African country.
According to a joint UN-EU-AU statement, the task force will also accelerate the assisted voluntary returns to countries of origin, and the resettlement of those in need of international protection.
This action will build on, expand and accelerate the ongoing work done by countries of origin, and the IOM, with EU funding, which allowed so far the voluntary return to their countries of origin of 13 000 migrants since January, the statement said.
The work of the Task Force will be closely coordinated with the Libyan authorities and be part of the overall joint work that the African Union and the European Union, and the United Nations, will intensify to dismantle traffickers and criminal networks, and to offer opportunities of development and stability to countries of origin and transit, tackling root causes of migration.
The United Nations, the African Union and the European Union agreed to upgrade in a systematic manner their trilateral cooperation and to meet on a regular basis at the highest political level, notably on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.