News / Africa

Libyan Crisis Highlighted Migrant Workers Plight

Migrant workers, who used to work in Libya and fled the recent unrest in the country, are seen in a refugee camp at the Tunisia-Libyan border, in Ras Ajdir, Tunisia, March 9, 2011. (AP Image)
Migrant workers, who used to work in Libya and fled the recent unrest in the country, are seen in a refugee camp at the Tunisia-Libyan border, in Ras Ajdir, Tunisia, March 9, 2011. (AP Image)
Joe DeCapua
The 2011 Libyan crisis raised awareness of the plight migrant workers face when caught in the middle of conflict. The International Organization for Migration says comprehensive, long-term plans are needed to avoid similar humanitarian and economic problems to those that developed during and after the Libyan uprising. The IOM call for a better response comes on International Migrants Day (12/18).


More than 200,000 migrants were evacuated from Libya in 2011. Most were from poor countries who had gone to Libya to find work. Some were documented, many were not.

IOM spokesman Jean-Philippe Chauzy said the issue of migrants in the midst of conflict or natural disasters is not a new one.

“I spent the summer of 2006 in Lebanon. And at the time we were evacuating mostly female domestic workers from the Philippines or Sri Lanka, Ethiopia and the rest. And I remember at the time how difficult it was to basically raise awareness of the protection and evacuation needs of those migrant workers.”

Chauzy said while the evacuation of migrant workers from Libya received international funding and was a success, it exposed some problems.

“A year on we have to recognize the fact that little attention has been paid to the reintegration needs of those returning migrants. These are migrants returning to food insecure areas. They’re coming back empty-handed. The remittances they used to send back to families have now stopped,” he said.

The Libyan crisis also had wide-ranging regional economic consequences.

“A country like Chad or Niger managed to get a loan from the World Bank to offer some kind of financial reintegration for those returning migrants. All the other countries that were affected by the Libyan conflict have suffered,” said Chauzy.

While much attention was given to thousands of migrants making their way to Europe, many more crossed Libyan borders into neighboring countries.

“Very often the plight of migrants comes very last when responses are being organized in reaction to conflicts or man-made disasters. Yet, we know that we live in a world of global mobility when more and more people are on the move, more and more migrants are on the move. There’s very little understanding that stranded migrants, minors, victims of human trafficking, who are also vulnerable, deserve also not just evacuation assistance, but also protection assistance,” he said.

The International organization for Migration is seeking widespread support for its Migration Crisis Operational Framework. It says the framework “addresses the needs of people crossing borders, who are not covered under current international protection because their displacement is not related to persecution.”

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs