More than 19,000 illegal immigrants repatriated from Libya in 2017

January 3, 2018

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has repatriated more than 19,000 illegal immigrants from Libya in 2017, an IOM official said Tuesday.

'The program helped 19,370 illegal immigrants return to their countries of origin in 2017 by airlifting them to the capitals of those countries,' Juma Ben-Hassan, coordinator of the IOM Voluntary Return Program in Libya, told Xinhua.

'The immigrants assisted by the organization to return to their countries are of 27 African and Asian nationalities,' Ben-Hassan added.

The IOM and the Libyan authorities launched a humanitarian repatriation program to return immigrants detained in Libyan shelters to their countries of origin.

Libya, which suffers insecurity and chaos, is a major departure point for illegal immigrants hoping to cross the Mediterranean toward European shores.