I am deeply troubled by the ongoing violence in Libya, particularly the fighting around Tripoli, which is endangering thousands of civilians and putting already vulnerable migrants and refugees in Libya at further risk. There have been reports of serious violations of human rights and humanitarian law. The EU has called on all parties to immediately implement a ceasefire and to engage with the UN to ensure a political solution to the conflict.
At the Foreign Affairs Council on 9 December, Ministers discussed the upcoming international summit in Berlin, which is part of UN Special Representative Ghassan Salamé’s roadmap for peace in Libya. I believe that Germany is playing a valuable role on this issue, and hope that this summit will pave the way towards a comprehensive and lasting cessation of hostilities.
I am particularly concerned about the effect of the instability in Libya on migrants and refugees in Libya. Human rights abuses against migrants and refugees in Libya, including in detention centres, are a matter of grave concern. During a national statement during the UN Human Rights Council in September 2019, Ireland noted that the system of detaining migrants and refugees in Libya, often in appalling conditions, is reprehensible. I applaud efforts by humanitarian organisations to relocate migrants and refugees for their safety, to the extent possible, in this very difficult situation.
The EU, through cooperation with the UN and the African Union, has helped over 48,000 people stranded in Libya to return voluntarily to their countries of origin, and has evacuated over 4,000 people in need of international protection. The EU has also mobilised €46 million in humanitarian support for people in need in Libya since 2014. Almost €328 million has been mobilised under the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa for protecting migrants, refugees and internally displaced people in Libya, and supporting local communities to cope with the migration challenge.
Ultimately, bringing real improvements to the lives of Libyans, and migrants and refugees in Libya, will require the restoration of political stability. Ireland and the EU will continue to support efforts to bring about a peaceful resolution to the conflict and build a better future for the Libyan people.