This Refugees International report details how European policies designed to keep asylum seekers, refugees, and migrants from crossing the Mediterranean Sea to Italy are trapping thousands of men, women and children in appalling conditions in Libya. Based on a February 2018 field mission, the report describes the harrowing experiences of people detained in Libya’s notoriously abusive immigration detention system where they are exposed to grave human rights violations, including arbitrary detention and physical and sexual abuse.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Aid trucks forced to flee Eastern Ghouta without unloading.The delivery of desperately needed food and medical supplies to Douma in Eastern Ghouta on Monday had to be cut short when the area came under attack. As a result, 14 out of 46 trucks could not be unloaded and nearly half of the food carried by the convoy couldn’t be delivered. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for “safe and unimpeded access” for other aid convoys, including a second one planned for Douma on Thursday. Aid workers who were part of Monday’s convoy reported that residents are spending much of their time in cold, cramped basements with no proper sanitation or access to safe drinking water. Children told UNICEF staff they were getting by on one meal a day of wheat, sugar and water.
More resettlement places needed for refugees evacuated from Libya. EU member states promised an “emergency operation” to evacuate refugees and migrants stuck in Libyan detention centres at a summit in November, but so far European countries have only offered 430 resettlement places for the 1,020 refugees and asylum seekers transferred from Libya to Niger by UNHCR. Addressing the European Parliament on Monday, UNHCR’s regional head for North Africa, Karmen Sakhr said the agency had been advised that “until more people leave Niger, we will no longer be able to evacuate additional cases from Libya”. Izza Leghtas of Refugees International spoke to some of the refugees evacuated to Niger from detention centres in Libya. One Somali woman, who gave birth while in detention, described not seeing the sun or the sky for five months. Although grateful to have found safety in Niger, she worries about those left behind.
In this blog, Senior Advocate Izza Leghtas write about refugees who have been evacuated from Libya to Niger under a UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) emergency program. At a time when the world’s richest nations are closing their doors to people fleeing conflict and persecution, Niger has agreed to host some 900 refugees evacuated from Libya. But at the end of the day, Leghtas writes, EU member states and other wealthy countries must offer resettlement opportunities for these refugees if the evacuation system is to work.
Responding to the current global refugee crisis, the UN General Assembly in September 2016 convened a special meeting to examine the effectiveness of the international community’s response to mass movements of people. That meeting lead to two important outcomes, with the third - the Global Compact on Migration - still pending. Jeff Crisp argues that the formulation of a Global Compact represents an invaluable opportunity to reassess, revise and reinvigorate the international community’s efforts to protect and find solutions for the world’s refugees.