By: Ibrahim Mousa Grada*
In 2016, according to data, about 180 thousand migrants left
Libya coasts on board death boats towards Europe and may be twice that figure probably await inside Libya, which is 400 thousand.
One of our major problems is the addicting to look and focus on the problems without searching for the causes, including the migration crisis, and here we should first consider the outputs before the outcomes.
Some Western countries, including Europe, fear collateral and irregular migration waves, the same as they fear terrorism. Some countries think of building walls around their borders, increasing border control measures, discussing alternatives. All international summits or ministerial meetings address the same issue.
We in Libya, as a transit point, will suffer and pay the price, for different reasons: We are an attractive point, surrounded by migrants’ source countries that in turn suffer wars, terrorism, economic collapse, overpopulation, drought, and organized crime. The history repeats itself, the same slaves trafficking routes flourish again with different commodities. Add to that the decreased Libyan population, vast uninhabited territory, especially in the southern Libya, long coastal and land borders and weak government security bodies.
It is true that the migration crisis and the consequences loomed recently, but we should admit its global scale and out geographic region not just in Libya. It is a haunting crisis since Gaddafi era with its security machine, as migrants’ camps spread in different areas across Libya, turned into semi-countries inside the country, fortified and protected. Also, using migration issue as a bargain card for political negotiations didn’t alleviate the crisis, also using that card depends on international circumstances that changed a lot.
It is very sensitive, complicated issue, not just temporary, with long-term effects on security, regarding demographic balance, cultural harmony, economic pressures, social peace, and political challenges. It is a matter where the national and humanitarian aspects, regional and international overlap. It can’t be dealt with without regional and international coordination, government, and civil cooperation. Here we should strengthen all official and unofficial efforts. Also, it is not easy to avoid international obligations without political and diplomatic wisdom or national solidarity.
The biggest challenge and threat is the local smuggling gangs, making a profit of such inhuman and illegal activities. With their contempt, they are the main party who encourage and escalate that phenomenon.
The high major countries put all needed capabilities to fight and address that crisis, watching out for the circumstances, we should all, with collateral responsibility and solidarity, bare our national and humanitarian responsibilities to the country and the future of its people. But hastening, throwing accusations against each other, to prove the other side is wrong, is like those who make a hole in the ship, forgetting that we all will sink.
Maybe, it is urgent to form a sovereign committee to manage the crisis and coordinate the efforts of all related bodies, including political, international, humanitarian, security, legal, social, and health. We need a subjective scientific national conference to tackle all sides of the issue instead of leaving the crisis to emotional behaviors and interim reactions.
*A Libyan Writer and Diplomat