News / Africa

Europe Accused of Ignoring Libya Refugees

Nigerian men who recently left war-torn Libya rest after arriving to their village, Dofalis, 190km away from Niamey, on September 8, 2011.
Nigerian men who recently left war-torn Libya rest after arriving to their village, Dofalis, 190km away from Niamey, on September 8, 2011.
Henry Ridgwell

European countries have been accused of a totally inadequate response to the refugee crisis on Libya's borders. Hundreds of thousands of mainly sub-Saharan migrants were forced to flee Libya following the brutal crackdown on anti-government protests earlier this year.

Refugees take shelter from a sandstorm at the Shousha camp on Tunisia's border with Libya.

The sweeping political change in both countries has done little to change the lives of the people stranded in this desolate camp.

Human rights group Amnesty International says they are being forgotten by the outside world.

Charlotte Phillips is a refugee activist for Amnesty.

"Many are from countries such as Somalia, Sudan, and Eritrea, countries where we know there are conflicts and people are being persecuted," said Phillips.  "These are people who have been displaced not just once, but twice. They've been forced to flee from their homes and they've been forced to flee again from Libya."

Libya under Colonel Moammar Gadhafi attracted hundreds of thousands of migrant workers from across Africa and beyond.

The outbreak of conflict in February forced them to flee.

"They also suffered grave human rights abuses at the hands of both pro- and anti-Gadhafi forces," added Phillips.  "Many sub-Saharan Africans were targeted and accused of being mercenaries."

Shishay Tesfay shelters behind a tent along with several of his Eritrean compatriots at the Shousha camp. He was living in Tripoli when anti-government protests began in February.

"We got into a little bit of trouble because of the Libyan people demonstrating," Tesfay recalled.  "And we were afraid for our lives; we tried to escape to save our lives. You can see life is a little hard because the climate is like a desert. We live in tents… you can see all the tents here burned out. And if just one tent burns, almost 40 tents will be destroyed."

Amnesty says just eight European countries have offered fewer than 700 asylum slots between them, and as Europe took part in the NATO bombing of Libya, it has a duty to take action.

"European countries can and must resettle refugees," added Phillips.  "These are people who have already been recognized as refugees. Relatively speaking, we are talking about quite small numbers of people. We're talking about 5,000 refugees, so around 3,800 in Shousha refugee camp [in Tunisia] and 1,000 in Egypt."

Tens of thousands of refugees from Libya have already reached Europe by crossing the Mediterranean on dangerously overloaded boats.

It's estimated 1,500 people have drowned.

Amnesty International says more and more refugees are resorting to returning to Libya, to try to board boats for the perilous journey across the Mediterranean.

You May Like

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

'Rumble in the Jungle' Turns 40

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid