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Migrants on an inflatable boat off the coast of Libya Migrants on an inflatable boat off the coast of Libya  (AFP or licensors)

EU States to resettle migrants amid Lybia attacks

French President Emmanuel Macron demands that authorities in Lybia stop holding transiting refugees in detention camps after the United Nations refugee agency was attacked on Monday. His announcement comes as several European Union nations agreed to share the resettlement of rescued migrants, who back in Lybia often face a lack of food and water.

By Stefan J. Bos

French President Emmanuel Macron reveals that only eight European Union member states signed on to a French-German initiative to share the resettlement of migrants fleeing war and poverty. 

The eight countries are Croatia, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Lithuania, Luxembourg, and Portugal. Macron claims that six other E.U. nations back the deal in principle, but 14 other member states are less enthusiastic.

The agreement focuses on people rescued in the Mediterranean. Among those criticizing the deal are Southern European countries such as Italy and Greece who claim they shoulder a disproportionate responsibility for arriving migrants.

The EU has spent hundreds of millions of euros to equip and train Libya's coast guard and to improve the conditions of the detention centers.

But Macron expressed concerns about the conditions of people held there following talks with the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi and the director-general of the International Organization for Migration.

Unattacked

He claimed that buildings of the U.N. refugee agency in Libya were attacked on Monday, though he did not elaborate on the attack. Macron also said that Libya should end what he called the "confinement" of refugees amid concerns about their safety.

Video footage has emerged of bullets hitting a detention center in Lybia. Terrified people can be seen running for cover. Lybia's government has blamed militia who are advancing towards Tripoli.

An airstrike on a detention center near the Libyan capital killed more than 50 migrants and wounded dozens of others earlier this month.

Men and women held here are desperate. "Actually no-one wants to live here," said Michael, who fled South Sudan. "Every time we hear a bomb," he told BBC television. "We hear gunshots every time, every day," the young man added.

No hope?

"Even at night, we can not sleep at all. I am still facing the same problems that I faced in South Sudan. I escaped because of the war and today I am in a war zone," Michael said.      "E

Another woman agreed, saying she is scared. "I don't know," she said when asked what will happen if she stays in the refugee facility. "There is just no hope...anything," she explained.  

French President Macron says Lybia should house these people in safe, safe places.

But that may not happen any time soon.

And with the E.U. divided over how to deal with migrants and refugees, their future remains uncertain.

23 July 2019, 17:12