African Union headquarters
African Union headquarter

The African Union (AU) on Thursday revealed that more than 50,000 African migrants were repatriated from Libya through an African Union (AU)-led tripartite initiative since November 2017.

The Tripartite Taskforce on the Situation of Stranded Migrant and Refugees in Libya, which was put in place by the AU, the European Union (EU) and the United Nations in November 2017, has so far facilitated the voluntary repatriation of more than 48,000 African migrants to their home countries as well as the evacuation of over 4,000 refugees from the war-torn North African country, the AU said in a statement issued on Thursday.

According to the AU, the tripartite AU-EU-UN taskforce on the situation of stranded migrants and refugees in Libya mainly envisaged to save and protect the lives of migrants and refugees along the migratory routes, and in particular inside Libya.

The initiative, since its launch back in November 2017, “has allowed the launch of a major assisted voluntary humanitarian return program and evacuation operation, which until today has led to over 48,000 voluntary humanitarian returns of migrants from Libya to their home countries facilitated by IOM and AU Member States, as well as over 4,000 evacuations of refugees by UNHCR from Libya,” an AU statement issued Thursday read.

Noting the meeting of senior officials from the three organizations on Thursday concerning the progress of the tripartite taskforce, the AU also disclosed that the taskforce members have “agreed that the AU-EU-UN Taskforce represents a unique framework for joint, trilateral action that has proven to be successful in achieving results on the ground.”

The AU Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat, the AU Commissioner for Social Affairs Amira El Fadil, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi, and the IOM Director General Antonio Vitorino, met on Thursday to discuss on the progress of the tripartite taskforce, according to the AU.

“They reiterated their commitment as well as the need for further strengthened coordinative mechanisms of the Taskforce and agreed to explore possibilities to increase AU-EU-UN cooperation,” the 55-member pan African bloc said.

Hundreds of thousands of African migrants, including Ethiopians, have in recent years used Libya, lying on the southern coast of the Mediterranean Sea, as a transit route to Europe. Enditem

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