Security Council Renews Authorization to Inspect Vessels Suspected of Smuggling Migrants, Human Trafficking from Libya, Adopting Resolution 2698 (2023)
The Security Council today decided to renew, for a period of 12 months, its prior authorization allowing Member States to inspect vessels on the high seas off Libya’s coast, when there are reasonable grounds to believe they are participating in acts of migrant smuggling and human trafficking.
Adopting resolution 2698 (2023) (to be issued as document S/RES/2698 (2023)) by a vote of 14 votes in favour and none against, with one abstention (Russian Federation), the Council condemned all acts of migrant smuggling and human trafficking into, through and from the Libyan territory and off the coast of Libya, which undermine further the process of stabilization of that country and endanger the lives of hundreds of thousands of people.
Through the text, the Council also called upon Member States to place the human rights and immediate needs of migrants and refugees at the core of their efforts to prevent and counter smuggling and trafficking. In addition, it called upon all States with relevant jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute persons responsible for acts of migrant smuggling and human trafficking at sea, in accordance with their obligations under international law.
By further terms of the text adopted today, the Council renewed the reporting requirements provided for in Council resolution 2240 (2015) and requested the Secretary-General to report to the Council 11 months after the adoption of the resolution on its implementation.
Malta’s representative, speaking prior to adoption, said the resolution aims to send a strong message to those seeking to profit from the suffering of migrants. It also seeks to put human rights and needs of migrants and refugees at the core of efforts to counter smuggling and trafficking off the coast of Libya. Therefore, it intends to effectively manage mass migration, while respecting human rights law, she added.
The Russian Federation’s delegation, speaking after adoption, said that he had abstained because a Council briefing on the issue, convened on 28 September at his country’s request, failed to provide answers to the question of why the resolution was needed if the European Union is unable to discharge the functions that it asked for. He explained that during consultations, he pointed out that a limited rollover would be wrong, adding: “Anyone who knows the situation or read the Secretary-General’s report on the implementation of Council resolution 2240 (2015) and subsequent resolutions knows they are not working.”