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*Law of Aliens

Published on January 31st, 2018 | by Georgia Archonti

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By New Year’s Day, UN Migration Agency Expects 19,000 Migrants Will Have Gone Home from Libya

Blinking as they stepped into the sunlight, 301 migrants were escorted from Libya’s detention centers this week to take what would be the first of a series of flights that would see them safely home in Nigeria and Guinea by day’s end. Thus ended an odyssey which began months earlier when the migrants left home full of the hope of making a fresh start in Europe.

All the migrants volunteered to be returned home by IOM, rather than face an uncertain future, including lengthy periods in detention with the potential for abuse from traffickers and smugglers in Libya. It is not known how many suffered abuse while in detention or while en route.

Escorted by IOM officials, the migrants left Zwara detention center early Wednesday 27 December, taking small planes between the Libyan cities of Zwara and Misratah. In a highly complex operation, fraught with security issues, the migrants were then flown home via charter flights to Lagos and Conakry.

IOM, the UN Migration Agency, is scaling up efforts to evacuate migrants from Libya and help them reach their home countries under the Voluntary Humanitarian Return Assistance (VHR). In addition to the Nigeria and Guinea flights, on Thursday (28/12), another charter flight carrying 170 returnees landed in Bamako, Mali.

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