The UN Security Council today decided to renew the resolution on combating migrant smuggling and human trafficking off the coast of Libya. UN member states and regional organisations active there will thus be authorised to inspect and seize vessels in the high seas if they have reasonable suspicion that they are being used for migrant smuggling or human trafficking from Libya towards Europe. In the Council, Switzerland supported the annual renewal of the resolution, which was first introduced in 2015, because it is an important instrument for combating human trafficking and protecting human lives.
Libya is a destination and transit country for migrants from all over Africa. The conflict in Sudan, which broke out in April 2023, is expected to exacerbate the situation. The number of refugees attempting to cross the Mediterranean from Libya is constantly increasing. According to a report by UN Secretary-General Guterres, almost 8500 people, including women and children, were intercepted and returned to Libya in the first half of 2023. Around 750 people drowned in the sea and around 950 were reported missing.