IOM and UNHCR coordinate Technical Workshop on Saving Lives at Sea in Libya
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) organized a Technical workshop and coordination meeting for Libyan partners on saving lives of migrants at sea on 24-25 May in Tunis.
The third of its kind (report), the workshop was organized within the framework of the established 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 from smuggling vessels, are carried out in full respect of human rights of migrants and refugees.
The objective of this working group is 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 bring an array of expertise that will assist in crafting guidance that address existing capacity gaps of represented Libyan counterparts.
The workshop included 28 participants from the Libyan Ministry of Defence, Health, Interior and Justice, the Border Directorate, the Department for Combating Illegal Migration, International Medical Corps and the Libyan Red Crescent, as well as 8 experts from the Italian Coastguard, EUNAVFOR MED, EU Border Assistance Mission to Moldova and Ukraine, the Italian Embassy, and World Health Organization.
IOM Libya Chief of Mission Othman Belbeisi emphasized the need to focus on identifying concrete and practical solutions to effectively carry out comprehensive search and rescue operations and to enhance international cooperation. “It was encouraging to see the continued commitment of the participants. IOM is committed to supporting enhanced coordination in order to promote real action that will respect migrants’ rights and prevent further needless deaths at sea,” he added.
UNHCR Libya Chief of Mission Samer Haddadin stated:
“Recognizing the right of states to protect their national interest, UNHCR encourages all countries to support the adoption and application of the standards available in international instruments for the protection of human rights and to provide alternative legal paths as well as options for safe and dignified voluntary return to countries of origin for those opting to return. Management of mix migration requires cooperation and coordination of different stakeholders; no one alone can manage it effectively.”
The workshop is funded by the European Commission Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection Department (ECHO) within the project “Establishing a Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) system in Libya for tracking the most affected and most vulnerable people displaced by the crisis and enhancing saving lives in mixed migration flows from Libya.”