First Published: 2017-11-23

Migrant arrivals from Libya down since EU deal
EU deal with Libyan authorities seems to be working as number of migrants arriving in Italy sees significant drop.
Middle East Online

International efforts to keep people from leaving Libya have grown increasingly controversial

GENEVA - The number of migrants who have reached Italy via Libya has dropped significantly since July, when the European Union reached a deal with Libyan authorities to stem migrant flows, the UN said Thursday.

The EU's decision to help Libya intercept migrants trying to cross the Mediterranean and return them to detention centres was condemned as "inhuman" earlier this month by the United Nations human rights chief, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein.

But a report from the UN refugee agency indicated that the pact has achieved its objective of curbing migrant arrivals in Italy.

"Over the past three months, 21,666 refugees and migrants have crossed the sea to Italy, the lowest number for this period over the last four years," the UNHCR report said.

The report noted that the EU-Libya deal was designed "to reduce irregular crossings to Italy".

International efforts to keep people from leaving Libya have grown increasingly controversial in recent weeks, as evidence has mounted of serious abuses committed against migrants by gang-masters, human traffickers and the Libyan security forces.

Global outrage erupted this week after video footage emerged showing migrants being auctioned off in Libya as slaves.

UNHCR meanwhile reported a slight spike in migrant traffic on the so-called eastern Mediterranean route that connects Turkey and Greece.

"In September, 4,900 refugees and migrants arrived by sea to Greece, the highest in a single month since March 2016", when the EU and Turkey agreed to a cut migrant traffic to Greece.

The agency noted that those who manage to evade coast guards trying to block their bid to reach Europe continue to face a perilous journey at sea.

"Thousands continue to attempt desperate and dangerous journeys to Europe," said UNHCR's Europe chief Pascale Moreau.

"As of 20 November close to 3,000 people are estimated to have died or gone missing at sea and another 57 known to have died along land routes in Europe or at Europe's borders in 2017. The actual numbers are likely to be higher," she added.

 

More strikes hit E. Ghouta as UN delays truce vote

Russia pours cold water on UN bid to condemn Iran over missiles to Yemen

Egypt presidential race starts with Sisi likely to win

Saudi Arabia to boost entertainment in next decade

Blatter supports Morocco bid for 2026 World Cup

Turkey says US embassy Jerusalem opening in May 'extremely worrying'

Lebanon says both suspects in Kuwait murder of Filipina maid held

38 dead in Mogadishu car bombings

Morocco police arrests prominent newspaper publisher

Syria regime continues to pound Ghouta as world stutters

UN rights commission wants S.Sudan war crimes charges

Iran grounds airline's ATR planes after crash

Turkey summons Dutch diplomat over Armenian 'genocide' vote

Turkey navy threatens to engage Italian drillship near Cyprus

Iran police shoving headscarf protester sparks social media storm

UN Security Council to vote Friday on Syria ceasefire

Dubai says Djibouti illegally seized African port

Dutch parliament recognises 1915 Armenian massacre as genocide

Heavily bombarded Eastern Ghouta awaits UN resolution

Russia says Syria rebels rejected offer to evacuate E. Ghouta

UN diplomats press for Syria ceasefire without Russia veto

Iranian minister’s presence at UN rights meeting angers critics

Iran warns it will leave nuke deal if banks cannot do business

Qatar to plant thousands of trees to ‘beautify’ World Cup venues

Pro-Kurdish party says Turkey lying about 'no civilian deaths' in Afrin

African migrants protest Israeli detention policy

Egypt sentences 21 to death for planning attacks

Israeli handball teams in Qatar spark furious outcry from locals

UN report highlights S.Sudan journalist treatment

Palestinian dies after being shot by Israeli soldiers

Gulf states urge Syria to end Ghouta violence

Wanted Bahraini militants die at sea en route to Iran

Iran's Ahmadinejad calls for immediate free elections

Merkel calls for end to 'massacre' in Syria

Iraq urges FIFA to lift ban on hosting internationals

Carnage of Ghouta's bombs breaking families

Blockaded Gaza Strip forced to pump sewage into sea

African migrants start hunger strike over Israel expulsion

UN chief 'deeply alarmed' by Eastern Ghouta violence

Three militiamen killed in Libya car bomb attack

Russia denies ‘groundless’ accusations of role in Ghouta killings

Turkey says whoever helps YPG is 'legitimate target'

Morocco dismantles IS-linked terrorist cell

Turkey urged to end gas standoff with Cyprus

PKK attack near Iraq kills 2 Turkish soldiers