France opens asylum-request centre in Libya

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President of France, Macron
President of France Macron meets Libyan leaders on peace deal

President Emmanuel Macron of France said he was hoping to set up so-called “hot spots” to handle asylum requests in Libya, which has seen thousands flee fighting in the country.

On Tuesday, Macron chaired talks between Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj and the divided country’s eastern commander Khalifa Haftar.

At those talks, the two Libyans committed to a conditional ceasefire and to work towards holding elections next spring.

Macron wants France to play a bigger role in coaxing Libya’s factions to end the turmoil that has allowed Islamist militants to gain a foothold and migrant smugglers to flourish in the absence of a strong central government.

NAN reports that UN says refugees are being held in dozens of detention centres in Libya, after being stopped or rescued from rickety boats as they attempted the perilous Mediterranean crossing to Europe.

Filippo Grandi UN High Commissioner for Refugees on May 21, visited one of the detention centres in the Libyan capital of Tripoli.

“I was shocked at the harsh conditions in which refugees and migrants are held,” Grandi said in a statement released on Sunday by the agency’s Geneva headquarters.

“Children, women and men who have suffered so much already should not have to endure such hardship.”
UN needs to do more for refugees in Libya

The UN refugee agency said it has secured the release of more than 800 refugees and asylum seekers from Libyan detention centres over the past year and a half.

Grandi promised to reinforce his agency’s presence in Libya if security conditions allowed it, and also to provide assistance to thousands of Libyans displaced by conflict.

“The time has come for us, as the UN refugee agency, to step up our presence and activities in the country,” Grandi later told AFP news agency.

He said that doing so could take time for political and security reasons, however.

“But meanwhile we are doing whatever we can to help the Libyans manage better these issues,” he said.

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