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Migrants, Refugees, and Asylum Seekers in Deplorable Situation in Libya

Editor Office - Elias Adam / Zurich 

Human Right Commission (HRC) has released its 2018 report on migrants situation in Libya, the report says that the EU Policies contribute to the abuse of migrants, asylum seekers, and refugees in Libya, the report is titled as “No Escape From Hell”.

Libya became a major hub for refugees, and migrants on their way to Europe after the overthrow of Muammar Alkhadafi and the subsequent collapse of Libya`s governmental institutions. Libya is now run by two governments and various militia groups e.g. Islamic state and clan militias who pose an immense menace to the lives of migrants and refugees passing through the main land of Libya to Europe. Migrants mainly from sub-saharan African countries like Eritrea and Somalia enter Libya from Sudan and then end up in the hands of merciless militias who then take them as hostages and negotiate for ransom (Money) with their families and relatives to pay up to 15000 USD and more as ransom for their release, meanwhile migrants and refugees who can not pay ransom to their captors (known as Makaffe/Magaffe) are systematically tortured to death. Rania Sulekha 33 yrs old, Somalian migrant in Sweden whose brother(Abdi 14 yrs old; see Fig. 1 and 2, Abdi in a quasi state-run detention center in Libya ) is now hostage in Libya, said in an interview with the International Human Rights News Agency; “I am appalled by the health situation of my brother, (showing the photo of a severely tortured boy in Libya), i must now rise fund for the release of my brother in Libya.” 

Figure 2: Abdi, 14 yrs old, 

in Somalia before becoming hostage in Libya. - 

Courtesy by Abdi Family

Figure 2: Abdi, 14 yrs old

Somali Migrant in Libya, shows signs of torture on his body

Courtesy by Abdi Family

In some cases, newly released migrants on ransom are again kidnapped by other militias and asked to pay another ransom in Libya, this demonstrates the uncertainty that migrants and refugees face in side Libya, let alone the awaiting uncertain future for them in Europe where the far right extremist political parties are on the rise, who favorably use the migrants as scape goats for political gains. So, the migrants and refugees find themselves trapped in between two extreme worlds, where the values of human rights and humanity are dying slowly.

According to some migrants who spoke to International Human Rights News Agency and who requested to be kept anonymous; “The Libyan militias have got ties with human traffickers in Africa and Europe, who persuade people about better life in Europe and give them false promise and the temptation to go to Europe via Libya and take the risk of perilous journey that mostly ends in tragedy. Women are raped and sold, children and men are forced to work, and in some cases, migrants must get killed for their human organs. human traffickers in Europe and in Africa are rarely tried before official courts, and mostly enjoy impunity.”

Migrants in Numbers

United nations agencies e.g. IOM recorded over 161,010 arrivals to Europe by sea since January 2017, most of whom departed from Libya. Similarly, UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), reported that an estimated 2,772 died or went missing while crossing the central Mediterranean route to Europe. In November 2017, the IOM reported that 348,372 migrants and asylum seekers were present in Libya. Most of 200,000 migrants and asylum seekers who reached Europe by sea in 2017 departed in boats from Libya shores. Migrants and asylum seekers who ended up in detention in Libya faced torture, extortion, sexual violence, and forced labor in unofficial and quasi state-run detention centers, at the hands of guards, militias, and smugglers. Libyan coast guard forces had reportedly beaten migrants as they have intercepted them at sea and forced them back to detention centers with inhumane conditions. Between January and November, 2,772 migrants died during perilous boat journeys in the central Mediterranean Sea, most of them have departed from the Libyan shore. EU provided training and material support to Libyan coast guard forces to boost their capacity to intercept boats in territorial and international waters and return migrants and refugees to Libyan territory, where many were exposed to physical abuse including beatings, torture, sexual violence, extortion, abduction, harsh detention conditions, and forced labor. 

Search and Rescue Operations at Sea 

Since 2014, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) have filled a deadly gap in maritime rescue operations, patrolling in international waters close to the 12-nautical-mile line that marks Libyan territorial waters – the area where over-crowded, unseaworthy boats are most likely to be in need. Most of the rescue and search participating ships were accused of easing the migrants flow to Europe as a human trafficking act, and most of them were either confiscated or stopped from operation at sea near Libya shores.  

The question which is frequently is asked: “Can there be a legal route to Europe that can be alternative to the perilous journey to Europe via Libya and other deadly routes?”. It is never too late to open legal ways to come to Europe and stop the deadly business run by human traffickers exploiting people escaping from wars, and persecutions. 

 Elias Adam 

International Human Rights News Agency  

Адвокат, оказываю высококвалифицированную юридическую помощь в соответствии с законами. За многолетний опыт работы выработал свой, уникальный подход к работе с клиентами.


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