The new programmes complement ongoing efforts of the European Union to protect migrants and provide them with sustainable reintegration options in Libya, along the Central Mediterranean Route and in Ethiopia.
Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, said: “The EU stands by the many African migrants and refugees in need. With these new measures worth over €150 million we continue to save and protect lives and tackle the root causes of migration. Because we also want to support people in improving their lives in their home countries and look into the future with hope. The EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa allows us to swiftly address the needs of people in despair, and together with our partners, we focus on protecting and supporting return and reintegration of especially vulnerable migrants and refugees."
Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn, affirmed: "With today's new programmes we are delivering on the commitments made in the framework of the joint EU-AU-UN Task Force and increase our already significant on-going support to those in need in Libya. We are actively working to save lives, protect people, as well as offering humane alternatives for people to leave the country and return back home. Equally important, we are working on new measures to support Libyan municipalities enhance the delivery of basic social services and improve local governance for both local and migrant population".
As announced by High Representative/ Vice-President Federica Mogherini at the Joint Task Force meeting last December, an additional €115 million have been made available to support migrants in Libya. This programme will be implemented together with the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). It complements an already existing measure worth €162 million. This new regional programme aims at protecting and evacuating additional 3 800 refugees from Libya, as well as providing protection and voluntary humanitarian return to 15 000 migrants stranded in Libya and support them with reintegration assistance in their countries of origin, as committed by the EU in the framework of the Joint Taskforce. It will also support the resettlement of more than 14 000 people in need of international protection from Niger, Chad, Cameroun and Burkina Faso.
Another measure worth €20 million will be dedicated to improve the assistance provided to vulnerable migrants, particularly young people and women, in transit countries in the Sahel region and the Lake Chad Basin. It will improve access to social and protection services, such as access to health care, education, security, housing, civil status, legal support or psychosocial assistance.
Through an action worth €15 million, the EU will expand its support to sustainable reintegration for Ethiopian citizens. They will benefit from social and psychosocial assistance at individual and community levels, as well as economic support such as business skills training or access to microcredits. The programme will in addition train relevant regional and local government organisations involved in the reintegration process to better support and empower returnees. This initiative complements the work done under the already existing Facility on Sustainable and Dignified Return and Reintegration.
The EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa was established in 2015 in order to address the root causes of irregular migration and forced displacement.
The Joint Initiative on migrant protection and reintegration by the EU and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) launched already more than a year ago (December 2016) has already provided significant results, by enabling, in particular:
- the rescue of more than 3 600 migrants in the desert;
- the voluntary return of more than 15 800 migrants to their countries of origin;
- the post-arrival assistance and reintegration to more than 23500 migrants returned by the EU-IOM Initiative or with the support of other donors.
The Joint Task Force was set up with the African Union and United Nations on 29 November 2017, committed to accelerate ongoing efforts to assist migrants and refugees in Libya and advance the programme of the International Organisation for Migration for assisted voluntary returns from Libya to countries of origin and the emergency transit mechanism of the UNHCR, to evacuate people in need of international protection.
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