Partners in Libya Advocate for Alternatives to Detention

The International Detention Coalition in partnership with IOM, the UN Migration Agency, and the Danish Refugee Council held a two-day meeting to explore alternatives to migrant detention in Libya on October 1 – 2.

The meeting, held in Tunis, brought together representatives from Libya’s Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Social Affairs and Labour plus the Directorate for Combatting Illegal Migration (DCIM) within the Ministry of Interior. Also in attendance were representatives from the African Union, diplomatic staff from eight African countries, Bangladeshi and Pakistani embassy representatives and participants from international NGOs and UN agencies.

The meeting provided an opportunity to discuss alternatives to detention with Embassy representatives, as well as how to address challenges facing diplomatic staff with regards consular procedure for migrants in detention.

Embassy representatives prepared a statement of principles, which was presented to the Libyan authorities on the second day of the workshop. The embassies emphasized the constraints they face in accessing their nationals in detention and called for improved collaboration with Libyan authorities and international organizations to find alternatives to detention that comply with Libyan law.

While the situation in Libya is complex and migration has many drivers that require efforts in the countries of origin, transit and destination, there are immediate practical steps that can be taken, emphasized Junita Calder, the International Detention Coalition representative.

These include introducing screening mechanisms, ensuring referrals and adopting a case management approach. With embassies on board to assist in this effort, there is an even greater likelihood of success, said James Martin, Head of Programmes, Danish Refugee Council.

Karolina Edsbacker, IOM Libya Protection Officer, praised ongoing ad-hoc initiatives of the diplomatic community in Libya to find alternatives to detention. “Community housing and other safe alternatives need to be further developed outside of detention and, for this, the collaboration with the embassies is key,” she explained.

This article is an excerpt from an IOM Press Release.
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