Tag Archives: Sub-Saharan refugees

Rescued Somali Asylum Seekers in Malta Describe Dangerous Conditions in Libya

The first group of rescued migrants for 2012 arrived in Malta on 15 January after being rescued by an Armed Forces of Malta patrol boat and an Italian cargo ship.  The 68 rescued migrants are Somali asylum seekers and had left Libya four days earlier.  Another boat carrying 72 migrants was rescued by the Italian coastguard on the 13th.  This boat is also believed to have departed from Libya.  UNHCR officials have interviewed the asylum seekers in Malta: “The new arrivals confirmed to UNHCR that the situation in Libya is still not stable and that it is particularly precarious for Sub-Saharan nationals. One Somali woman told UNHCR that they were afraid to go outside the house. Some even described the situation in parts of Libya as being similar to the lawlessness of Somalia. They explained that smugglers provided them with the only possible way out at this point.”  The Times of Malta reported that two of the asylum seekers said “they paid armed Libyan militiamen $400 each to facilitate their crossing of the Mediterranean.”

Click here, here, and here for articles.

Click here (IT) for article.

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Filed under Italy, Libya, Malta, Mediterranean, News, UNHCR

ANSA Video Shows Libyan Rebel Forces Abusing Sub-Saharan Migrants

ANSA has posted a cell phone video reportedly made by a Nigerian migrant who is now in Lampedusa.  The ANSA article says the video was taken in Kufra, near the Libya-Sudan border, but does not say when the video was taken.  According to ANSA the video shows a group of migrants blocked by anti-government forces. “The refugees, including some children can be seen, their hands are tied by the military and are forced to grovel. The images show men in uniform, armed with machine guns Kalashnikov, striking the immigrants with some whips.”

(“I profughi, tra i quali si notano alcuni minori, hanno le mani legate e sono costretti dai militari a strisciare per terra. Le immagini riprendono gli uomini in divisa, armati con mitra Kalasnikov, mentre colpiscono gli immigrati con alcuni frustini.”)

Click here for article and here for video. (IT)

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Filed under Italy, Libya, Mediterranean, News

ECRE calls on the EU to rescue sub–Saharan refugees trapped in Libya

Statement in full:

“Brussels, 3 March 2011. In a meeting today with Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmström, ECRE urged the European Commission to make an appeal to EU Member States to help evacuate and offer protection to the 4,000 sub-Saharan refugees who are trapped in Libya.

The international community is making important efforts to support the evacuation of Europeans, Egyptians, Tunisians and other foreigners. However, sub-Saharan refugees, mainly Somalis and Eritreans, are not able to get out of Libya to find safety. As de facto refugees, they cannot go back to their own countries, which they fled to save their lives. What is more, suspected of being pro-Gaddafi mercenaries, they are being targeted and are at great risk if they try to reach the Egyptian or Tunisian border.

Bjarte Vandvik, ECRE’s Secretary General, said ‘Persecuted in their own country, persecuted now in Libya and unable to leave the country, sub –Saharan refugees need to be urgently evacuated to Europe’.

For further information

– ECRE, Appeal for Libya: NGOs call on European governments and the European Union to stand with them in helping people who are fleeing Libya

– ECRE, Safe haven for people fleeing bloodshed in Libya

– CIR, CIR launches an urgent appeal for the evacuation of Eritrean refugees in Tripoli


Click here for link to ECRE statement.

Click here (SV) for Commissioner Malmström’s short blog post regarding the meeting with ECRE.

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Filed under European Union, Libya, Mediterranean, Statements