Libya’s Deputy Prime Minister, and acting Health Minister, Ramadan Abu Jinnah said that “protecting the health of refugees and migrants is a burden on the state.”
During a speech delivered at the second High-Level Regional meeting of the World Health Organization (WHO), Abu Jinnah said that “immigrants enjoy health services and necessary medical care, just like Libyan citizens. This burdens the state and places a great responsibility, as a result of the lack of resources and medical supplies.”
Abu Jinnah called on member states, as well as international organizations, to “redouble their efforts and cooperate on resolving the crisis.” He also called for “establishing effective partnerships to resolve the crises facing Libya as a transit country for migrants.”
The Minister also stressed the need to “provide healthcare to refugees and immigrants in an equitable manner, including providing support in mental health, psychosocial support, and disability care.”
Libya had become the preferred route for tens of thousands of migrants from Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia seeking to reach Europe, after the fall of Muammar Gaddafi’s regime in 2011.
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) Chief, Antonio Vitorino has said that “at least 5,000 migrants are being held in official detention centers in Libya, and they represent just the tip of the iceberg.”
Last month, the IOM said it has managed to rescue 2,850 migrants in 2023 while recording 56 deaths, and 101 missing. Among the rescued migrants were 1,218 children.
The Organization said that 24,684 migrants were intercepted and returned to Libya in 2022, while 32,425 were intercepted in 2021.
Notably, dozens of healthcare personnel organized a demonstration in front of the Cabinet Office in Tripoli last month, to protest the deteriorating health conditions in the country.
The protesters complained about Abu Jinnah’s role and demanded “a full-time minister with high experience and competence in charge of the affairs of the ministry.”