I strongly condemn all human rights violations and abuses against refugees and migrants in Libya, and I am absolutely appalled by reports of slave auctions. Political fragmentation in Libya has led to a governance vacuum in some areas, but I call on the Libyan authorities to do everything they can to end this horrendous practice.
The situation in Libya was discussed at the June 2017 Foreign Affairs Council, and at the July Council, my EU colleagues and I adopted Conclusions, which urged the Libyan authorities to improve access to, and conditions in, detention centres, as well as to look for alternatives to detention. At the European Council in October, the Taoiseach conveyed Ireland’s deep concerns on the conditions in detention centres in Libya. He announced that Ireland will double its contribution to the EU Trust Fund for Africa to €6 million, to help address the root causes of migration.
The EU supports the UNHCR and the IOM efforts to ensure adequate reception facilities for migrants, and provides training in international humanitarian law, human rights and gender issues to the Libyan authorities. The African Union, EU and UN agreed in November to establish a trilateral Task Force to protect the lives of migrants, particularly inside Libya, by accelerating assisted voluntary returns to countries of origin, and resettlement of those needing international protection.
Real improvement in the situation of migrants in Libya will require political stabilisation and a return to order. Through the EU, Ireland supports both UN mediation, and regional efforts, to stabilise the situation in Libya.
The fight to reduce poverty is one of the main drivers of large irregular migratory flows, and remains firmly at the core of Ireland’s aid programme. Irish Aid will continue to focus on ending extreme poverty, hunger and under-nutrition.