Recent UN Security Council Statements on Libya and Migrants

The special meeting of the European Council will occur later today. Based on various press reports, it seems that the EU will decide to pursue several courses of actions in response to the situation in the Mediterranean, including taking steps – presumably by military force – to identify, capture and destroy migrant boats in Libya before the boats are used by smugglers. HR Federica Mogherini will reportedly be instructed to seek authorisation for the military strikes from the UN. (Click here (IT) and here (EN) for articles)  (Here is the Draft European Council Statement via Statewatch.)

The most recent UN Security Council resolution on Libya (Resolution 2213) was adopted on 27 March 2015; the Resolution extended the mandate of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) until 15 September 2015. The Resolution also took note of, among other matters, the dire situation faced by migrants in Libya and called on the Libyan government to promote and protect “the human rights of all persons in Libya, particularly those of African migrants and other foreign nationals.”

On 21 April, after the most recent migrant boat accident, the Security Council released a Press Statement regarding the boat accident and “expressed their concern at the implications for regional stability posed by transnational organized crime and illicit activities such as the smuggling of migrants…”

The press statement is not a formal statement from the Security Council, but may provide some limited insight into how members of the Security Council view the relationship between the flow of migrant boats and a possible threat to international peace and security and how the Security Council might respond to the EU request.

Full Text of the 21 April 2015 Press Statement:

“Security Council Press Statement on Recent Maritime Tragedy in Mediterranean Sea

The following Security Council press statement was issued today by Council President Dina Kawar (Jordan):

The members of the Security Council deplored the recent maritime tragedy in the Mediterranean Sea that resulted in hundreds of casualties, and extended their deepest condolences to all those affected and to their families.

The members of the Security Council expressed their grave concern at the recent proliferation of, and endangerment of lives by, the smuggling of migrants in the Mediterranean Sea, off the coast of Libya.

The members of the Security Council expressed their concern at the implications for regional stability posed by transnational organized crime and illicit activities such as the smuggling of migrants, condemned and deplored the said acts and underlined the need to bring the perpetrators of these acts to justice.

The members of the Security Council called for the full implementation by State Parties of the Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime.

The members of the Security Council expressed their strong support to countries in the region affected by the smuggling of migrants and emphasized the need to step up coordination of international efforts in order to strengthen a global response to this common challenge, and in order to protect these vulnerable migrants from being victimized by human traffickers.

The members of the Security Council urged all Member States, including countries of origin and transit, to cooperate with each other and with relevant international and regional organizations, including the IOM [International Organization for Migration], in addressing illicit migration flows, and dismantling smuggling networks in the region.

In that regard, the members of the Security Council urged all States to comply with their applicable obligations under international law, including international human rights law, international humanitarian law, and refugee law.

For information media. Not an official record.”

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