Libya’s Temporary Minister of Interior Emad Al-Tarabulsi said on Wednesday that his country rejects any attempts by foreign countries or organizations to settle migrants on its territory. He also vowed to fight human trafficking and drug smuggling networks that exploit migrants and endanger their lives.
In a press conference with Mohamed Beshr, the head of the Anti-Illegal Immigration Agency, Al-Tarabulsi stated that Libya had spent billions of dollars on hosting migrants who entered the country illegally or were rescued at sea. He indicated that Libya was facing security, health, economic and social challenges due to the influx of migrants and needed more cooperation from different stakeholders.
Al-Tarabulsi blamed human traffickers for causing the migrant crisis and putting thousands of lives at risk by providing them with unsafe boats to cross the Mediterranean Sea. He said that some migrant shelters had been closed because they were run by armed groups who used them for trafficking purposes.
He also explained that Libya was working on improving its border management with Tunisia by installing surveillance cameras and deploying forces along the border line, mentioning that this would help prevent illegal entry and smuggling activities.
Al-Tarabulsi praised the efforts of different security agencies in Libya that have facilitated the return of hundreds of migrants to their countries of origin. He said that this was part of a voluntary repatriation program that had been ongoing for several years.
Moreover, the acting minister warned that Libya would crack down on drug networks that were linked to migrant smuggling networks, adding that drugs were a major threat to Libya’s security and stability and its smuggling was affiliated with human trafficking.