Libya / Charity Concert Raises Awareness on the Dangers of Irregular Migration
TRIPOLI, Libya, October 23, 2009/African Press Organization (APO)/ — IOM Press Briefing Notes
A concert organized by IOM, the Community of Sahel-Saharan States (CEN-SAD) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) will later today in Tripoli bring top performers from Ghana and Niger as part of efforts to raise awareness on the pitfalls of irregular migration.
Renowned Ghanaian singer and songwriter Amandzeba will perform to thousands alongside Sogha, a famous band from Niger to convey the central message of the event: whatever your aspirations are, be properly informed so as to make the right decision.
As part of the event, community leaders and migrants who’ve failed in their attempt to reach Europe will testify on their ordeal. IOM representatives will inform prospective migrants on the realities of migration abroad and convey information on both the opportunities of legal migration and limitations of irregular migration.
This initiative has received the support of the Libyan authorities and IOM’s awareness message is relayed by three leading Libyan non-governmental organizations, the World Islamic Call Society (WICS), the International Organization for Peace, Care and Relief (IOPCR) and Al-Wafa.
Every year, thousands of irregular migrants, mostly from Sub Saharan Africa try to reach European shores after long and dramatic journeys through the Sahara desert.
“So many stranded migrants come to IOM for assistance saying they would have never embarked on such horrific journeys had they been made aware of the risks involved,” says IOM’s Michele Bombassei in Tripoli. “Despite the economic downturn affecting Europe, smugglers continue to sell bogus dreams to migrants, saying they will be welcomed because no one in Europe wants to work.”
With some 4,000 kilometres of land and 1,700 kilometres of sea borders, Libya is both a transit and a destination country for migrants. Irregular migrants are drawn to Libya by the demand for unskilled labour and the strength of the local economy, and now numbering between 1 and 1.5 million, as well as its proximity to southern Europe.
However, since the start of joint Italian-Libyan patrols in the Mediterranean in May this year, there has been a dramatic decrease in the number of irregular migrants arriving on the Italian island of Lampedusa, with centres on the island now completely empty of migrants
In response to requests from African and Asian embassies in Tripoli, IOM has been providing voluntary return and comprehensive reintegration assistance to irregular migrants who wish to return home.
To date, the programme, which is co-funded by the EU and Italy, with additional support from the United Kingdom, has helped close to 4,000 destitute migrants from 25 African and Asian countries.
Migrants who require international protection are referred by IOM to UNHCR to ensure their needs are met.
For more info, please contact Michele Bombassei at IOM Tripoli, Tel: +218-92 74 05 371, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
International Office of Migration (IOM)