There are approximately 610,000 illegal migrants smuggled into Libya, and a trade in migrant’s organs does exist, speakers at a debate in Tripoli on illegal migration said Wednesday. The debate was organised by the Al-Inma Organization for Supporting Youth and Women.
The debate was attended by Adviser to the Cabinet Minister of State for Migration Affairs and Rapporteur of the Supreme Committee for Combating Illegal Immigration, Ghaith Al-Sakbi, Representative of the Coast Guard and Port Security at the Ministry of Defence, Brigadier General Bahar Masoud Abdel Samad, Director of Scientific Affairs at the International Humanitarian Law Centre, Hamid Al-Murabit, representative of the Chairman of the National Committee for Drawing up Policies and Strategies on Immigration, the head of the Development Organization for the Support of Youth and Women, Samira Al-Masoudi, and several interested and immigration specialists.
The attendees discussed many issues related to illegal migration and its political, security, social and economic repercussions, as well as the latest developments and policies related to migration.
Illegal migration affects many countries – boats are coffins of death
For his part, the Director of Scientific Affairs at the International Humanitarian Law Centre, Ahmid Al-Zaidani, confirmed to the Libya Herald that the file of illegal migration is one of the most sensitive files in all countries of the world. He said many countries around the world suffer from its social, humanitarian, security and economic repercussions, most notably the African countries that suffer from poverty and political instability and high rates of unemployment and corruption. All of which push African youth to cross the desert from their countries towards Libya and from there to Europe across the Mediterranean in boats that are like coffins of death.
610,000 illegal immigrants present in Libya?
Al-Zaidani added that there are approximately 610,000 illegal migrants present in Libya who entered at the hands of African smugglers, among them those who want to work inside Libya to provide enough for their families in their countries, and some of them want to migrate in death boats to Europe after collecting some money from inside Libya
Illegal migrants originate from African, Arab and Asian countries
He pointed out that illegal migration does not originate solely from Africa, but also comes from Arab states such as Syria, Egypt, Sudan, and Yemen, and Asian origins, especially from Bangladesh. As for the numbers of migrants in general, he admitted that they are inaccurate because it is not possible to count those who entered secretly and are present in the country in an illegal way.
There is a danger in not addressing the illegal migration problem
Al-Zaidani highlighted the danger of not addressing the problems of migrants in Libya by the competent authorities and developing ways to combat clandestine immigration. This needs to be done in cooperation with international organizations and countries affected by waves of migrants in Europe, by creating development in migrant countries in Africa, addressing their living and economic conditions and creating job opportunities in their countries.
Illegal migration has serious implications for Libya
He added that Libya is one of the countries most affected by migrants, and their presence in these numbers has serious security implications. There are those who exploit migrants in actions that harm security and local community peace, especially by some armed gangs that work to exploit immigrants to work among their members in theft and armed robbery. Al-Zaidani said this security harm is reflected negatively in destroying the Libyan economy, in addition to the fact that every clandestine migrant costs thousands of dinars in migrant shelters.
Al-Zaidani said that there is confirmed news that international gangs obtain human organs belonging to illegal migrants from local gangs suspected of working in the field of trafficking in human organs. He said this is common in many countries considered a route for migrants. Al-Zaidani called for research and investigation into the matter and for those involved in these crimes to be referred to the judiciary so that they are punished and so that Libya does not become a country for international gangs that trade in human organs.
Solutions and recommendations to government agencies
Samira Al-Masoudi, head of the Al-Inma Organization for Supporting Youth and Women, told Libya Herald that holding this debate with the parties concerned with migration helps to inform about the developments of this file on the ground. It also informs helps to generate solutions to make recommendations that will be referred to the competent government agencies.
This would hopefully prevent migrants from being exploited in crimes such as terrorism or organized crime, she explained.
Libya is not a signatory to the 1951 International Refugee Convention
Al-Masoudi pointed out that Libya is not a signatory to the 1951 International Refugee Convention, and that the debate was organized, and all parties gathered so that there would be cooperation to find a solution to this crisis. She stressed the need for concerted efforts as a civil society and as a state to draw up future measures and policies to protect Libyan society from the repercussions of this phenomenon.