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AU supports 5,200 migrants return from Libya

The International Organisation for Migration, IOM, Mission says the African Union, AU, has supported 5,200 migrants to return home from Libya since November 2017.

Chief of IOM Mission in Libya, Mr. Othman Belbeisi, said thousands of migrants have also returned home safely from the war-ravaged country since 2017 through a UN-supported programme.

He said since January 2017, 23,302 migrants had repatriated through the VHR programme, which consists of the European Union, EU, AU and Libyan Government.

Mr Belbeisi said IOM in Libya was also working with the authorities to register migrants, provide lifesaving assistance in the form of health care and essential aid items, psychosocial support, improve consular services and projects promoting community stabilisation.

He said nearly half of voluntary returns executed by IOM from Libya were part of the larger EU-IOM Joint Initiative on Migrant Protection and Reintegration initiative that supported reintegration for returnees in countries of origin.

According to him, the initiative is active in Libya as well as 26 countries in North Africa, the Sahel and the Lake Chad region, and the Horn of Africa.

IOM Regional Director for the EU, Eugenio Ambrosi, said the VHR operation’s scale of protection needs and number of returns had overtaken initial planning and pose challenges for countries of origin.

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