Security Council extends measures to curb migrant smuggling off Libyan coast

6 October 2016

Deploring continued loss of life due to migrant smuggling and human trafficking off the coast of Libya, the United Nations Security Council this morning extended its authorization for Member States to intercept vessels on the high seas suspected of being used for those illicit activities, for a further period of one year.

Adopting a new resolution by a vote of 14 in favour, to none against, with one abstention (Venezuela), the 15-member Council authorized Member States, acting nationally or through regional organizations, to inspect vessels on the high seas off the Libyan coast if there are reasonable grounds to suspect that they are being used “by organized criminal enterprises for migrant smuggling or human trafficking from Libya, including inflatable boats, rafts and dinghies.”

By the terms of the text, the Council also urged States and regional organizations whose naval vessels and aircraft operate on the high seas and airspace off the coast of Libya, to be vigilant for migrant smuggling and human trafficking, encouraging them to increase and coordinate their efforts to deter those acts, in cooperation with Libya.

The Council emphasized that all migrants, including asylum seekers, should be treated with humanity and dignity and that their rights should be fully respected, and urged all States in this regard to comply with their obligations under international law, including international human rights law and international refugee law.

Further, the Council called on all States, with relevant jurisdiction under international law and national legislation, to investigate and prosecute persons responsible for migrant smuggling and human trafficking at sea, consistent with States' obligations under international law.

The Council called for Member States to consider ratifying or acceding to the Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air, which supplements the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, as well as the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children. The State Parties to these protocols are urged to implement them.

The Council requested States to update the Security Council every three months on the progress of actions undertaken, and asked the Secretary-General to submit a report eleven months after the adoption of this resolution on its implementation.


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UN Security Council authorizes operations to disrupt migrant smuggling off coast of Libya

Acting to help “save the threatened lives of migrants or of victims of human trafficking” and to disrupt criminal enterprises operating on the high-seas off the coast of Libya, the United Nations Security Council today authorized for one year operations by the European Union (EU) and individual countries to inspect and or seize vessels of suspected of people smuggling in the Mediterranean.