UN Concerned over Migrants Stranded on Libya-Algeria Border


The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) have voiced their deep concern over the plight of hundreds of migrants, stranded at the border between Libya and Algeria.

In a UN-issued statement, the organizations elaborated that hundreds of migrants are trapped in miserable conditions, following their deportation from Tunisia towards the isolated border regions with Libya and Algeria. They pointed out that some have already entered both countries.

The organizations stressed an urgent need to provide life-saving humanitarian aid, until immediate humanitarian solutions are found.

The UNHCR and IOM noted the presence of pregnant women and children stranded in the desert, facing extreme temperatures without shelter, food, or water.

They reported that there are accounts of loss of life among migrants, emphasizing the necessity to prioritize life-saving measures, and move these migrants to a safer location.

The organizations urged all concerned countries to “uphold their international legal obligations towards migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers.”

They also expressed appreciation for the efforts exerted by the Libyan and Tunisian Red Crescent, especially in providing humanitarian aid to hundreds of individuals in the border regions.

Last week, the Libyan Ministry of Interior announced that it had recovered the bodies of five migrants from sub-Saharan Africa, in a barren area near the border with Tunisia.

The ministry stated that security patrols discovered the bodies between the Zouara Al-Khass and Tawila Al-Rutba areas.

The fate of dozens of sub-Saharan Africans near the Libyan border has become uncertain, as they claim that Tunisian authorities transported them from the city of Sfax earlier this month.

The Tunisian government then reportedly moved them to shelters in two towns. Human rights groups have said that dozens are still stranded in extremely difficult conditions, left thirsty and hungry, in an unprecedented heatwave.

Tunisian President, Kais Saied condemned illegal migration from sub-Saharan Africa in February, saying it aimed to change the demographic structure of Tunisia. Rights groups criticized these statements as racist. The African Union also criticized Tunisia, and urged it to “avoid hate speech.”