More on Libya’s Decision to Expel UNHCR

Libya’s decision to expel the UNHCR from Libya was made public during the seventh round of Framework Agreement talks between the EU and Libya.  The talks concluded yesterday in Tripoli.  “[Libya’s Deputy Foreign Minister Mohammed Tahar] Sayala said the main stumbling blocks to progress were illegal immigration and the International Criminal Court (ICC), which Libya does not recognise.  [Sayala] said Libya wanted financing and equipment [from the EU] for the surveillance of its borders, both on land and sea.”

Amnesty International criticized the decision to expel the UNHCR and called on Libya to reverse the decision:

“[***] The move to expel the UNHCR came against the backdrop of the 7th round of negotiations, which started on 6 June in Tripoli, between Libya and the EU over a Framework Agreement, which addresses bilateral cooperation in the control of irregular migration, among other issues, including potential readmission agreements for third-country nationals, who have transited through Libya on their way to Europe. EU member states, most notably Italy, have been seeking Libya’s assistance in decreasing the flow of arrivals of asylum-seekers and migrants to European shores. The expulsion of the UNHCR further casts doubt on Libya’s commitment to respect its obligations under the Organization of African Unity Convention Governing the Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa. It also shows how essential it is to include effective human rights safeguards and adequate standards of protection in any bilateral agreements with Libya in the field of the control of migration. [***]”

The European Commission also expressed “concern” with Libya’s decision “but sees it as one more reason to engage in ‘dialogue’ with General Gaddafi’s country on immigration and asylum.”

And as noted by Michèle Morel on International Law Observer, even though Libya is not a signatory to the UN Refugee Convention, Libya is bound by customary international law which prohibits refoulement to countries where there is a risk of torture, “[t]herefore, while Libya itself has no asylum system for the examination of asylum seekers’ situations, refusing to allow UNHCR to carry out its activities in Libya would amount to a violation of international human rights law.”

Click here, here, here (EN), and here (AR) for articles.

Click here for Amnesty International’s statement.

Click here for link to ILO post.


Filed under European Union, Libya, Mediterranean, News, UNHCR

3 responses to “More on Libya’s Decision to Expel UNHCR

  1. Pingback: Italy’s Migrant Interception Faces European Court Scrutiny | Open Society Foundations Blog - OSF

  2. filimon

    i am happy by the decision libya did. you(UNHCR) are making your own bussiness in the name of migrants. the libyan government knows this very well. if you were sincerly concerned about refugees, why are this thousands of Eritreans suffering this much hardships? why is all the prisons in libya becomes their home? why was not ressetlement programs given for all while almost all of them have the same case which makes the escape their home country? you are doing nothing.i am one of the Eritrean refugees in libya. it tooks me almost a year to reach for interview and then i was appointed for two months to take my refugee status but when the day comes they told me to check once a week.being like that i keep on checking for two months and now the office is closed. i am so happy with that because that was the result of the offices work. again i have seen that there is no justice in the UNHCR. to give you an example, Minority groups like the Blin ethnic group are dominated and mariginalised from any access in the country and in their own native land is not seen as a serious case here in the UNHCR. in contrast there are about 31 Eritreans who have been given a ressetlment chance to the Netherlands and i have not seen even a single person from the Blin ethnic group.

  3. Pingback: Tweets that mention More on Libya’s Decision to Expel UNHCR « MIGRANTS AT SEA --

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