Political stability should not be traded with human rights while funds for peacekeeping operations should be increased, a migration conference heard this morning.

Civil society should also be roped in to help resolve internal issues, the MOASXChange conference heard.

The event held at the Maritime Museum marked the central Mediterranean launch of the Malta-based Migrant Offshore Aid Station mission.

Libya Herald managing editor Sami Zaptia poured cold water on hopes that the situation in Libya would return to normal following the establishment of a Government of National Accord (GNA).

"The reality is that it only controls the periphery around its naval base in Tripoli, but has no means to take control of the vast coast comprising about 100 departure points where some of the illegal crossings are originating from," he said.

Mr Zaptia did not mince words to say that the GNA was, at present, a "non-existing" government with no jurisdiction. 

"In these conditions, an EU migration deal with the GNA will not work," he warned. Commenting on the mood of the Libyan population, he said that their priority at present was not migration but security and the cost of living. 

This is like the sinking of the Titanic every hour, but nobody seems to care

Mr Zaptia said the international community could not repeat the past mistake of trading human rights with political stability. He also called for a bigger budget for peace-keeping missions. 

Syrian-born world-renowned pianist Malek Jandali and founder of an NGO called Pianos for Peace spoke against de-humanising the conflict in his country.

"This is like the sinking of the Titanic every hour, but nobody seems to care," he remarked.

The debate was also addressed by Alganesh Fessaha, founder and president of the Gandhi Foundation, who raised concern about the increasing incidence of migrants being traded as slaves for Isis or killed for human organ trading.

Nando Sigona, senior lecturer at Birmingham University and Cecilia Strada, president of Italian humanitarian organisation Strada, were also on the panel.

MOAS has saved thousands of migrants stranded in the Mediterranean Sea since its launch in 2014.

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