A decade after Libya’s revolution, an increasing number of people are making the perilous journey out of Libya by boat. At the end of December, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) had registered 386 Libyans arriving in Italy by sea in 2020, almost double the number that arrived in 2019. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees recorded a 52% increase of Libyans arriving in Europe, compared with 2019. Safa Msehli, a spokesperson for the IOM, says the rise in numbers is significant, as it changes Libya’s position in relation to the migration chain. A weak economy further crippled by the coronavirus pandemic is helping to fuel the exodus. Corruption and security fears are also becoming push factors for Libyans. Mousa Algunaidi, of the Nedaa Organization for Human Rights and Community Development, in Misrata, says corruption inside the various state apparatuses in Libya – divided between two rival governments based in Tripoli and Benghazi – imperils basic services such as electricity supply, and has eroded Libyans’ trust in the state.
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