Since the end of February 2011, 790,000 migrant workers and their families have crossed the Libyan border into other countries to escape the conflict and ongoing violence in Libya. Although migration crises of this kind are not new, the massive outflow of migrants fleeing the violence in Libya represents one of the largest migration crises in modern history. Given that there were approximately 1.8 million migrant workers in Libya, a country heavily reliant on migrant workers before the crisis, it is clear that such large-scale movement has significant implications for the neighbouring region and beyond, as well as for the post-crisis reconstruction of Libya itself. The scale of the crisis in Libya has brought to the political foreground the issue of protection and rights of migrants caught in crisis; the role of State actors and international cooperation mechanisms in such situations; and the implications of such crises for migrants’ countries of origin as well as for wider migration management systems.
Migrants Caught in Crisis: The IOM Experience in Libya analyses the effect that the Libyan crisis has had on migrants caught in the crisis and the wider implications for migration in the region, based primarily on the experience of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in the evacuation, return and reintegration of migrant workers from Libya. It contextualizes the crisis in Libya from a comparative perspective within the region and takes a brief look back at the socio-economic, political and migration situation, prior to the crisis. It then provides a detailed account of the evacuation of migrant workers from Libya and the central role played by IOM. The effects of the crisis on sending countries and their nationals are also examined, as are the implications for the post-crisis reconstruction of Libya. The report considers the challenges and lessons learned with regard to the following in the international response to the Libyan crisis: the role played by State actors, cooperation mechanisms, evacuation as a form of protection, security and humanitarian access, and resource mobilization. Finally, although the situation in Libya is still evolving after the downfall of the Gaddafi regime, emerging migration policy challenges and future policy considerations are put forth.