Tag Archives: Refugees International

Trapped Migrants Face Increasing Violence at Sidi Bilal Near Tripoli

From Refugees International, 7 October:  “More than 600 migrants from sub-Saharan Africa are effectively stranded at a port just outside the Libyan capital, and have been left to fend for themselves by Libyan authorities. Despite repeated attacks, harassment, and arbitrary arrests by Libyan gangs over the course of four months, they have received no protection from the National Transitional Council (NTC). Refugees International calls on the NTC and all local authorities – including the civilian councils in Janzour and Tripoli, and the Tripoli Military Council – to intervene immediately to protect the population at Sidi Bilal port and ensure their safe relocation to a temporary site.  ‘The men in these camps are routinely harassed and accused of being pro-Gaddafi mercenaries, the women are targets of sexual abuse. All face intimidation by armed Libyan thugs who drive into the port at night firing guns into the air,’ said Matt Pennington, an advocate for Refugees International currently in Libya. ‘Of course, many migrants told us they don’t really want to leave Libya – since they have nothing to return to in their home countries. But even for those who want to stay in Libya, their situation is becoming intolerable.’  …  So far, the UN World Food Programme has delivered one food drop to the imperilled migrants, while the UN Refugee Agency and the International Organization for Migration have been attempting to negotiate safe relocation for those who want to stay and repatriation for those who want to return home. But what the population of Sidi Bilal most urgently needs is protection, and Libyan and UN authorities must act swiftly to provide it.”

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Filed under Libya, Mediterranean, Reports, Statements, UNHCR

Yemen to End Prima Facie Refugee Status for Somalis

Yemen announced a plan to end its policy of granting prima facie refugee status to Somali nationals.  If the change is approved by the Council of Ministers, arriving Somalis would be required to make individual requests for refugee status.  The Yemen Observer reported that “[a]ccording to Essam al-Mahbashi, member of the National Committee for Refugee Affairs (NACRA), not all Somalis are fleeing conflict as many of them come from safe regions such as the port of Bosasso in the Puntland region of northern Somalia in search of better economic opportunities. Al-Mahbashi said that the emergence of extremist groups in Somalia like al-Shabab al-Mujahideen is one of the reasons why Yemen wants to cancel the prima facie refugee status policy.”  “Patrick Duplat of NGO Refugees International (RI) told IRIN that RI encouraged countries, including Yemen, to offer Somalis the broadest protection mechanisms possible given the current situation in their homeland. However, he said Yemen’s new policy would be in line with newly issued UNHCR guidelines on Somalis that allow for such screening but call for those Somalis not granted refugee status to be afforded ‘complementary forms of international protection.’”

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Filed under Gulf of Aden, News, Somalia, UNHCR, Yemen