Funds Needed Urgently to Assist Stranded Migrants

Posted: 
11/22/07

With many tens of thousands of migrants stranded in Libya without
the means to return home, IOM is making an urgent appeal for three
million Euros to assist 2,000 of the migrants next year alone.

Since 2006, the Organization has assisted 1,300 stranded
migrants to return home voluntarily with reintegration assistance,
including a 300 Euro support start-up grant for income generating
activities to help them restart their lives. In the coming weeks,
another 200 migrants will be helped through this European
Commission and Italian government funded IOM programme.

However, with a dramatic increase in the number of requests for
help being made by migrants stranded in Libya, IOM will have to
suspend its programme unless additional funding can be found.

The North African country, a major transit country for large
numbers of migrants attempting to reach Europe each year, is
currently hosting many tens of thousands of irregular migrants from
West and East Africa as well as from Asia. Most of them use the
services of smuggling networks and are often unaware of the dangers
awaiting them as they attempt to cross the Mediterranean on rickety
boats.

Although Libyan authorities have put in place various strategies
for managing migration flows to and through its borders –
such as increased border patrolling, training its migration
officials, requiring labour migrants from some nationalities to
have a contract before being admitted and adopting a regularization
scheme for undocumented entrants – irregular migration flows
remain significant. The effectiveness of forced returns of
irregular migrants is also proving to be weak as many migrants make
a second attempt to reach the country. The humiliation of returning
home empty-handed, in debt and often in a worse economic situation
than before they left, is also a situation that forces many
migrants to continue staying in Libya with an irregular status.

IOM's assisted voluntary return and reintegration programme not
only offers an alternative to dangerous attempts to cross the sea
to Europe, but also provides those who choose to return to their
country with an opportunity to build a life back at home again.

For further information, please contact:

Laurence Hart

IOM Tripoli

Tel: +218 91 383 25 96

E-mail: "mailto:lhart@iom.int">lhart@iom.int