The European Commission has approved €61.5m in funding for programmes offering migration support in Northern Africa.
The five programmes, which will receive funding through the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa, are designed to support refugees, vulnerable migrants and host communities in the North of Africa; particularly in Libya, where conflict and destabilisation have contributed to a high level of displaced populations. Yesterday, 3 July, an airstrike on a migrant detention centre in Libya killed 44 and wounded more than 130; leading to renewed calls from the United Nations and human rights advocates to close such centres on the basis that they put migrants at risk from military conflicts.
Johannes Hahn, the EU’s Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations, said: “The events of last night killing migrants are a strong reminder of the need to pursue EU’s efforts to protect them and to put an end once and for all to the Libyan detention system. The EU continues to push for the ultimate closure of [migrant] detention centres and is working to provide assistance and protection to people in need. In the framework of the African Union-European Union-United Nations Task Force, we support vulnerable migrants to voluntarily return and reintegrate in their countries of origin and refugees and asylum seekers to be evacuated out of Libya in view of their resettlement.”
The new funding allocation towards providing migration support in Northern Africa includes:
- €3.5m to shore up the monitoring and evaluation framework of the Emergency Trust Fund for Africa;
- €5m for a regional entrepreneurship programme aimed at boosting skills mobilisation;
- €12m for a scheme establishing inclusive services and promoting social cohesion, set to run in tandem with the EU’s Regional Development and Protection Programme;
- €18m to an initiative headed by the United Nations Development Programme aimed at strengthening local government services and ensuring vulnerable populations can access essential services; and
- €23m to boost protection and resilience among vulnerable and at-risk migrant communities, refugees, returnees, internally displaced persons and communities hosting high populations of migrants and refugees.
Hahn added: “Our new programmes under the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa will help to protect vulnerable people, stabilise communities, and reduce hardship for migrants, refugees and local people in areas most affected by migratory flows. With these new programmes, we continue to support our neighbours in North Africa to respond together to migration-related challenges in ways that safeguard security, rights and dignity of migrants and refugees, in the mutual interest of Europeans and our neighbours.”