UK gives Libya £1m to help stop migrants crossing the Mediterranean

UK government is working with Libya to stop the flow of migrants from Africa to Europe

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The UK has pledged up to £1 million ($1.2 million) to Libya to support it in efforts to return African migrants to their home countries before they make the journey to Europe.

The money will support the protection of migrants in Libya and help to prevent journeys to Europe by tackling the root causes of illegal migration and allowing the voluntary return of migrants to their home countries.

Michael Tomlinson, the British Minister for Countering Illegal Migration, discussed this challenge in talks with Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah on a two-day visit.

The trip also included engagements in neighbouring Tunisia, and meetings with representatives from the EU, UN, France, Germany and Malta in Tripoli.

More than 150,000 migrants arrived in Italy by sea last year having crossed the Mediterranean – a record number – with many of them leaving from Libya.

During his visit, Mr Tomlinson met officials from the International Organisation for Migration and observed the co-operation between Libyan law enforcement and the UK’s National Crime Agency against people-smuggling gangs who take migrants towards Europe.

“Tackling the global migration crisis and smashing the evil gangs who drive it are shared challenges that must be met with a shared response," he said.

"The work I have seen first-hand here in Libya and across North Africa is absolutely critical, but we know there is more that must be done.

“The funding and support we are providing will mean Libya is better equipped to stop people risking their lives to reach Europe.

"It also demonstrates our commitment to crack down on people smugglers operating not just in the English Channel, but across the whole world.”

Mr Tomlinson's engagements in Tunisia aim to build relationships with the country, tackle organised criminal gangs and work with international partners to enable voluntary returns.

Updated: March 08, 2024, 7:45 AM