LIBYA-MIGRANTS-CRACKDOWN-KILLING-CRISIS-CONFLICT-AFRICA
Migrants trying to save their lives (File Photo/Daily Sabah)

Hundreds of migrants and refugees including women and children have been rounded up, arbitrarily detained, and are at risk of abuse and ill-treatment, waited outside a United Nations center in Tripoli to seek help in escaping Libya after what aid groups called a violent crackdown in which thousands were arrested.

migrants and refugees in Libya 591,415 migrants from over 43 nationalities in 2021, the number of migrants in Libya continued to increase slightly while remaining lower than pre-pandemic levels as well as the improvement in the security situation since the ceasefire agreement and the formation of the government of national unity in March 2021.

Migrants and refugees in Libya, particularly those without legal residency, are often at risk of arbitrary detention (torture, sexual violence, and extortion) are rampant in Libyan detention centers.

This latest wave of arrests is part of a wider crackdown by the authorities on migrants and refugees and Libya’s environment is becoming increasingly more restrictive.

However, as a result of the ongoing conflict since 2011, the slow pace of recovery from years of conflict and political instability, and recently the impact of the COVID-19 on the local economy continue to affect migrants.

That year migrants have faced violent abuse and extortion in Libya which has conflict without peace even when they will start with new governments. As we know Libya is a major transit point for people seeking to reach Europe in search of a better life. On the other hand, migrants and refugees are treated and tortured during detention in five different centers in Libya, without shelter or food, as criminals and not as refugees.

After that, Libyan authorities immediately release those detained and to end the crackdown on migrants and refugees taking place. When they know the armed forces in Tripoli began a series of more than 5,000 people in overcrowded detention centers as aid and rights groups voiced alarm, many of those arrested escaped wars or dictatorships across Africa. They were intercepted at sea trying to reach Europe by the EU-supported Libyan coastguard.

Countries with ties to Libya, particularly European states must also scale up pathways for resettlement of refugees in Libya. In addition, security forces must take extreme measures to arbitrarily detain more vulnerable people in inhumane conditions in severely overcrowded facilities.

A few years ago, European countries were still leading the rescue effort in the Mediterranean. Between 2013 and 2014, Italian ships alone saved more than 100,000 people from drowning. But soon afterward, a new border security mission (“Operation Triton”) was launched with less funding and fewer ships, and deaths in the Mediterranean began to rise. In 2016, during the height of the so-called European migrant crisis, deaths and disappearances totaled more than 5,100, according to figures from the International Organization for Migration. In 2018, the risk of death increased on the Central Mediterranean route used by migrants. According to a recent report by the International Organization for Migration, one person – out of 35 people trying to cross – died in 2018, compared to one in 50 people in the year 2017.

As a result of that many of the people waiting outside the U.N. center in Tripoli, men were forced to stand due to overcrowding, while hundreds of women and children were held outside, without shade or shelter, some sleeping on the pavement were wounded, with bandages on their heads, legs or hands. Some walked only with crutches or the help of friends. Several people were unconscious and required urgent medical attention.

What should Libya do to protect refugees and migrants?

Libya guarantees the basic rights of refugees, displaced persons, or stateless persons for the duration of their habitual residence and ensures that they are not forcibly returned to any country where they may face persecution. In the longer term, Libya assists refugees to find solutions, either through a voluntary return to their homes, integration within the country, or resettlement in third countries.

As a result of political instability, has opened the door to all refugees and migrants with illegal ways to earn money, and this is the result of chaos, war, and deals with Italy, and the biggest role of the European Union is to work together with other partners in a variety of locations, starting from the capitals all the way to the camps remote and border areas. Together, they seek to enhance or provide legal and physical protection and reduce the risk of violence – including sexual abuse – to which many refugees are exposed, even in countries of asylum. Libyan society must also provide a minimum level of shelter, food, water, and medical care in the aftermath of any mass exodus.

Emergency assistance must be provided to those who have been forced to flee, the first step towards long-term protection and rehabilitation. Emergency teams must be dispatched to the scene of the crisis, providing food, shelter, water, and emergency medical supplies, and arranging major airlifts with the European Union. Citizens or the existence of a collective solution to the rehabilitation process.

On the other hand, European Union Programs related to migrants in Libya within the framework of the (European Union Trust Fund for Africa ) with 336 million € have been delivered to the Libyan coast guard since 2014, 91.3 million € of which were spent on training and equipping the Libyan coast guard, 91.3 € were invested in the “integrated border and migration management” which It includes two programs, each of which shares the total amount equally. The first program, adopted in July 2017, aims to “strengthen the border management capabilities of the Libyan authorities”,

As for the second program, in December 2018 and implemented by the Italian Ministry of the Interior, it includes “supporting the Libyan Coast Guard, in particular the Maritime Rescue Coordination Center (MRCC), and the purchase and maintenance of patrol boats.” Italy is also directly training, equipping, financing, and coordinating the operations of the Libyan Coast Guard following an agreement in February 2017 with the aim of returning ships and migrants to Libya.

The deal – approved by European leaders – has drastically reduced the number of migrants arriving on Italy’s southern coast. Since then, Italian Navy ships stationed in Tripoli have coordinated the efforts of the Libyan Coast Guard.

© The Eastern Herald
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Miral Sabry AlAshry
An Associate Professor at Future University in Egypt(FUE), Political Mass Media Department. Author of the book - The Struggle for Libya. Contributor to The Eastern Herald from Egypt.