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02 Oct 2015

Policy in Brief - Two Years after the Crisis: Returnees from Libya Revisited

This report provides an update to a policy brief issued in May 2012, on the situation of migrants who returned to their home countries as a result of the conflict in Libya in 2011. Now two years after mass returns began, the aftermath of the crisis continues to reverberate in countries across Northern and Western Africa as well as beyond, in Asia. To this day, albeit in much smaller numbers, migrants continue to leave Libya. While the timely intervention and transportation of returnees prevented an immediate humanitarian crisis from occurring on Libya’s borders, the return of vast numbers of migrants to their home countries was not without consequences. The Libyan crisis has posed a broader threat to peace and security in the region, and is clearly among the many factors that have contributed to the recent conflict in Mali. Even though the crisis has diminished, pressing humanitarian needs still remain. The circumstances of many continue to be difficult, with few job opportunities and challenges in adjusting back to family and community life. 

While the initial policy brief focused specifically on returns to several West African countries, this update takes a broader view and looks at the situation of returnees in a number of African and Asian countries (Burkina Faso, Chad, Ghana, Niger, Egypt, Ethiopia, Sudan, Tunisia, Viet Nam and Bangladesh). This policy brief update first reviews the current situation of returnees and then, examines the measures taken to support them. Finally, it lays out some lessons for the future, by revisiting the recommendations made in the first policy brief issued in May 2012 in the aftermath of the crisis, regarding reintegration and community stabilization, migration management and capacity-building, and sustainable development. This case of migrants returning home from Libya also provides us with a larger lesson: once the immediate emergency is over, such returnees are likely to become a forgotten group, especially if they come from countries faced with new economic and political challenges.

  • Introduction
  • Methodology
  • Context
  • Policy and programme responses
  • Current situation of returnees
  • Conclusions and recommendations