IOM, UNHCR Train Libyan Partners on Saving Lives at Sea

Capacity Building

Libya - IOM, in coordination with the UN refugee agency (UNHCR), this week (29-31/8) organized the fourth technical workshop and coordination meeting for Libyan partners on saving lives of migrants and refugees at sea.

The meeting in Tunis was organized under the auspices of the Technical Working Group and Contact Group on Saving Lives at Sea, which aims to ensure that timely, effective and appropriate life-saving operations, including disembarkation of migrants and refugees from smuggling vessels, are carried out in full respect of human rights of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers.

The working group aims to provide comprehensive guidance and recommendations to the different actors involved in rescue at sea operations, based on international best practices, policies and strategies. Participants address gaps in the capacity of Libyan counterparts and are drawing up standard operating procedures.

The workshop included participants from the Libyan Ministry of Defence (Coast Guard), Interior Ministry (Coast Security and Directorate for Combating Illegal Migration), Libyan Red Crescent, and National Centre for Common Diseases, as well as experts from the Danish Refugee Council and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

Migrants and refugees continue to make the perilous journey across the Mediterranean from Libya to Italy at great risk. They are highly vulnerable to exploitation by organized criminal networks and frequently travel in unseaworthy boats risking capsize and drowning at sea.

The Libyan Coast Guard reported that they rescued 300 migrants and refugees from two boats off Sabratah this week. In total, they report rescuing 10,546 migrants and refugees off the Libyan coast in 2016.

According to IOM, over 112,000 migrants and refugees have arrived in Italy by sea via the Central Mediterranean route from Libya this year. Some 2,731 deaths have been recorded.

The workshop was funded by ECHO and US State Department's Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM).

For further information, please contact Othman Belbeisi at IOM Libya, Tel. +216 29 600389, Email:  or Samer Haddadin at UNHCR Libya, Tel. +21658335115, Email: