The United Nations refugee agency has welcomed the decision by the Libyan authorities to set up a "transit and departure facility" in Tripoli for refugees and migrants in need of international protection - an initiative that offers viable alternatives to their dangerous journeys along the Central Mediterranean route.
"We hope that thousands of the most vulnerable refugees currently in Libya will benefit from this forward-looking initiative," said Roberto Mignone, Libya Representative of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
The initiative, which is supported by the Italian Government, will facilitate the transfer of thousands of vulnerable refugees to third countries.
Mr. Mignone added that the main objective is to speed up the process of securing solutions in third countries, particularly for unaccompanied and separated children and women at risk. These solutions will include resettlement, family reunification, evacuation to UNHCR-run emergency facilities in other countries, or voluntary return.
At the facility, UNHCR staff and partners will provide registration and live-saving assistance such as accommodation, food, medical care and psychosocial support.
In September, UNHCR called for an additional 40,000 resettlement places to be made available for refugees located in 15 countries along this route. So far, only 10,500 pledges have been made.
"We now need EU member States and others to step up with offers of resettlement places and other solutions, including family reunification slots," said Mr. Mignone. "Together, these will be an important platform for securing solutions for these vulnerable people, based on shared responsibility."