I am deeply troubled by the escalation of violence in Libya in recent months, which we have spoken about in this House on a number of occasions, particularly the ongoing fighting around Tripoli, which is endangering thousands of civilians and putting already vulnerable migrants and refugees in Libya at further risk.
The EU has called on all parties to implement immediately a ceasefire and to engage with the UN to ensure a full cessation of hostilities. I participated in the May meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council, at which UN Special Representative Salamé briefed us on the situation and the council reiterated the EU's support for the UN-led peace process.
Human rights abuses against migrants and refugees in Libya, particularly in detention centres, are a matter of grave concern. The Libyan Government bears primary responsibility and must manage migration in full compliance with international law, although we are aware that the Government does not have full control over many areas of Libyan territory.
The EU is maintaining political pressure on the Libyan authorities to end the system of detention centres and is working with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, UNHCR, and the International Organization for Migration to ensure that other options exist to protect and assist refugees and migrants. The EU High Representative highlighted the priority the EU attaches to this issue when she met the Libyan Prime Minister in May 2019.
Through co-operation with the UN and the African Union, the EU has also helped more than 45,000 people stranded in Libya to return voluntarily to their countries of origin and has evacuated close to 4,000 people in need of international protection. Since many more people remain at risk, the EU will continue to work with its partners to relocate them to safe places.
Ultimately, bringing real improvements to the lives of Libyans, and migrants and refugees in Libya, will require restoration of political stability. Ireland and the EU will maintain pressure on all parties to work towards a negotiated solution to the conflict; ensure access for humanitarian organisations, which is hugely important in order that we can get accurate testimony to what is happening; and, ultimately, to put an end to the system of detention in Libya. I am, however, not unrealistic about the scale of the challenge we face and the timelines to which we are working.