UN agency calls for renewed action against criminal human smuggling, trafficking in Libya

Map of Libya. Selective Focus. Getty images

The United Nations Higher Commission of Refugees (UNHCR) on Friday called for renewed action against human trafficking in Libya.

“UNHCR expresses its deepest condolences over the tragic death of a young Eritrean asylum-seeker in Tripoli this week and calls for renewed action against smugglers and traffickers who continue to inflict unimaginable suffering on refugees, asylum seekers and migrants in Libya,” UNHCR said in a statement.

“It has been well-documented over recent years that criminal smuggling and trafficking groups operate in Libya, causing immense suffering and misery,” the statement said.

UNHCR welcomed recent steps taken by the Libyan authorities against armed groups and traffickers, including raiding a smuggling ring and freezing the assets of various traffickers and also called on the international community to provide more support to the authorities in their fight against human trafficking networks.

“UNHCR looks forward to the reopening of international travel routes that will allow us to renew resettlement and evacuation for those in greatest need, and voluntary humanitarian return for those who desire to return to their homes,” the statement said.

Because of the insecurity and chaos in the North African country, Libya is a point of departure towards Europe for thousands of illegal immigrants.