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141 Sudanese migrants return from Libya as part of EU initiative

June 16 - 2022 KHARTOUM
A boat carrying migrants intercepted in the Mediterranean (File photo: Libyan Coast Guard)
A boat carrying migrants intercepted in the Mediterranean (File photo: Libyan Coast Guard)

141 Sudanese migrants voluntarily returned from Benghazi and Tobruk in Libya to Khartoum Airport on Tuesday, as part of the joint initiative between the European Union and the International Organisation for Migration (EU-IOM).

The 2016 EU-IOM joint initiative which works in concert with 26 African countries, ensures that migrants who wish to return to their country of origin are safeguarded in an integrated approach addressing their individual needs.

The Director of the Organisations Department of the Expatriate Authority, Amal Karar, stated that “the return program began since September of the year 2017, and 4,770 Sudanese citizens have returned so far”.

Karar added that the role of the Expatriate Authority is to coordinate with Sudanese embassies and consulates through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in order to “register migrants and assess their vulnerability to determine the degree of economic and medical needed for them”.

The EI-IOM initiative was funded by the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa (EUTF) and is the first comprehensive programme which assists migrants along key migration routes in Africa.

Sudanese migrants face death and abuse by human traffickers

18 Sudanese migrants drowned in the Mediterranean on their way to Europe on April 9. The boat had 20 migrants on board; two passengers survived and only four out of the 18 bodies were recovered.

Human traffickers have taken advantage of Libya’s civil war and lack of state authority in recent years. Having smuggled migrants across Libya’s borders, the traffickers put the migrants in unstable rubber dinghies and set them off on a perilous journey by way of the Mediterranean.

The International Organisation for Migration said at least 192 migrants drowned on the central Mediterranean route in the first two months of 2022.

More than 2,930 migrants were intercepted and returned to Libya. Upon return, they are transferred to government-run detention centres, where abuses and ill-treatment are rife.

Large numbers of migrants have been victims of human trafficking groups who detain them, torture them, and hold them hostage for ransom.

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