UK to Pay Libya £1 million to Curb Illegal Migration

View of Susah, Libya (Photo: gordontour /

According to German news agency dpa, the UK will give Libya £1 million (1.17 million euros) in order to prevent people from traveling across the Mediterranean Sea and return them to their home countries.

The announcement follows the conclusion of a visit to Tripoli last week by British Home Office Minister Michael Tomlinson, who is the first to visit the nation in decades.

“In addition to helping victims of human trafficking, the funding will support migrants who decide to go back to their home countries. In a statement posted on his website, Tomlinson stated, “These voluntary returns are one of the most fundamental tools at our disposal for driving down migration numbers globally.”

“Assisted or independent return to the country of origin, transit, or another country based on the voluntary decision of the returnee” is how the International Organization for Migration (IOM) defines voluntary returns.

Departure Terminal: Libya. Destination: Europe

Over 150 000 migrants arrived in Italy via sea from North Africa in the previous year, setting a record for arrivals in Europe. Libya, a major entry point for migrants heading toward the Mediterranean, saw close to 40 000 arrivals in Europe.

In an article for the British newspaper The Telegraph, Tomlinson stated, “The new funding I announced is only the latest step in our drive to bolster international efforts, building on our new deal with Frontex, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency and agreements with other countries including Vietnam and Albania.”

Beyond Libya, the UK has promised Turkey a £3 million agreement to build a new center for coordinating UK-Turkish border patrol operations. Ninety percent of small boats that attempt to cross the English Channel and enter the UK reportedly start their journey from Tukey.

Libya is Itself an Unsafe Country, Human Rights’ Organizations Warn

Human rights organizations have harshly condemned Europe for outsourcing its migration policies to African nations, especially those like Libya that have a history of violating human rights.

The UN Human Rights Council stated that there are “reasonable grounds to believe that crimes against humanity have been committed against Libyans and migrants throughout Libya since 2016” following a fact-finding mission in Libya last year. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) estimates that 600 000 migrants are stuck in Libya.

Human rights organizations have consistently denounced Libya for massive abuses of human rights and unrestrained government actions ever since Muammar Gaddafi was overthrown in 2011 and the internal conflicts that followed.


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