News / Africa

    African Migrants Suffering Abuse in Libya Repatriated

    FILE - African migrants rest after their rescue by the Libyan Coast Guard west of Tripoli, Dec. 21, 2015. The International Organization for Migration says it is scaling up the repatriation of African migrants suffering abuse and exploitation in Libya, mainly at the hands of the police and the militias.
    FILE - African migrants rest after their rescue by the Libyan Coast Guard west of Tripoli, Dec. 21, 2015. The International Organization for Migration says it is scaling up the repatriation of African migrants suffering abuse and exploitation in Libya, mainly at the hands of the police and the militias.
    Lisa Schlein

    The International Organization for Migration said it is scaling up the repatriation of African migrants suffering abuse and exploitation in Libya, mainly at the hands of the police and the militias.

    Over the past few months, the International Organization for Migration reports it has repatriated thousands of Africans from Libya, mainly to Burkina Faso, Gambia and Senegal.

    In its latest operation a few days ago, IOM returned 117 migrants to Burkina Faso, including five women and two children.

    IOM spokesman Itayi Viriri said the migrants told stories of horrific treatment by militias and blatant exploitation at their places of employment. He said many young men spoke about working for weeks on end for no pay.

    FILE - African migrants look through bars of a locked door at Sabratha migrant detention center for men in Sabratha, Libya, October 2013.
    FILE - African migrants look through bars of a locked door at Sabratha migrant detention center for men in Sabratha, Libya, October 2013.

    “We do have examples of young men who were working in construction who, every time they got paid, they were raided – their accommodation was raided by militias who took whatever money they had. There was no one to then go and try and get redress or try and get these obvious crimes investigated," Viriri said.

    Vulnerable population

    A recent United Nations report found migrants in Libya are vulnerable to exploitation and human rights violations by authorities, armed groups and smugglers.

    It said many migrants have been subjected to long periods of arbitrary detention, to torture, forced labor, extortion and other forms of abuse.

    Viriri told VOA that IOM has received testimony from African migrants of being beaten up and threatened with other forms of inhumane treatment.

    “A few cases where people were abducted with the expectation that ransom would be paid. So, here we have one young man who said if they are arrested in Libya or taken in by these militias, they are expected to pay the equivalent of $700,” he said.

    Viriri said most of the migrants evacuated from Libya over the past year were new arrivals. He said they came to IOM voluntarily asking for help to return home because they found their situation to be untenable.

    You May Like

    Hope Remains for Rio Olympic Games, Despite Woes

    Facing a host of problems, Rio prepares for holding the games but experts say some risks, like Zika, may not be as grave as initially thought

    IS Use of Social Media to Recruit, Radicalize Still a Top Threat to US

    Despite military gains against IS in Iraq and Syria, their internet propaganda still commands an audience; US officials see 'the most complex challenge that the federal government and industry face'

    ‘Time Is Now’ to Save Africa’s Animals From Poachers, Activist Says

    During Zimbabwe visit, African Wildlife Foundation President Kaddu Sebunya says poaching hurts Africa as slave trade once did

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: williweb from: Phoenix Arizona USA
    February 28, 2016 1:59 PM
    The problems caused by overpopulation, lack of food and water, unemployment are not going to be solved by people claiming asylum here or there. There is no place to run to. If people won't control their birth rates, nature has cruel ways of fixing the problem.
    In Response

    by: Xaaji Dhagax from: Somalia
    February 29, 2016 11:52 AM
    Your comment is off the point. With good reason, you are simply trying to disguise the really issue with nonsense topics such as overpopulation, lack of food etc. The really point is how black people are treated in Libya and elsewhere. It's racism! racism! and racism period! Pakistanis, Koreans, Indians, Jews and Chinese are all in Libya working and are treated humanly, no abuse, no discrimination. In the Middle East, I promise, you will be treated nicely provide that you are not black!

    In Response

    by: Paul from: Belgium
    February 29, 2016 8:00 AM
    The article is about labour exploitation. None of these guys claimed asylum in Libya. They went, got jobs, and now the situation is difficult for them so they are being supported returning home. "Overpopulation" has nothing to do with how you are treated in the workplace or by out of control militia. Your comment is pretty much irrelevant in this case.

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolatei
    X
    July 29, 2016 4:02 PM
    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolate

    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Tesla Opens Battery-Producing Gigafactory

    Two years after starting to produce electric cars, U.S. car maker Tesla Motors has opened the first part of its huge battery manufacturing plant, which will eventually cover more than a square kilometer. Situated close to Reno, Nevada, the so-called Gigafactory will eventually produce more lithium-ion batteries than were made worldwide in 2013. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Polio-affected Afghan Student Fulfilling Her Dreams in America

    Afghanistan is one of only two countries in the world where children still get infected by polio. The other is Pakistan. Mahbooba Akhtarzada who is from Afghanistan, was disabled by polio, but has managed to overcome the obstacles caused by this crippling disease. VOA's Zheela Nasari caught up with Akhtarzada and brings us this report narrated by Bronwyn Benito.
    Video

    Video Hillary Clinton Promises to Build a 'Better Tomorrow'

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged voters Thursday not to give in to the politics of fear. She vowed to unite the country and move it forward if elected in November. Clinton formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination at its national convention in Philadelphia. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more.
    Video

    Video Trump Tones Down Praise for Russia

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is toning down his compliments for Russia and Vladimir Putin as such rhetoric got him in trouble recently. After calling on Russia to find 30.000 missing emails from rival Hillary Clinton, Trump told reporters he doesn't know Putin and never called him a great leader, just one who's better than President Barack Obama. Putin has welcomed Trump's overtures, but, as Zlatica Hoke reports, ordinary Russians say they are not putting much faith in Trump.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora