EU Plays Hide and Seek Politics with Refugees in Libya!

by Selamawi

Political Refugees in Libya

Political Refugees in Libya

The dignity of human being has clearly breached by the EU member states since long time. The hide and seek game Italy plays on the issue of immigration and immigrants becomes number one to be criticized.

Since its agreement with the Libya in 2003, Italy hides at the back of every human right abuse in Libya. Italy has financed detentions and deportation flights of political refugees regardless of the fate of the victims.

The biggest mistake Italy does is mocking its activities to appear good just by some make-ups when the politicians come before camera. The government of Italy worked very hard not only to convince Libya, but also to advocate the good sides of the border policies in patrolling the frontiers.

It uses the media to tell the EU in general and the Italian population in particular about good migration policies Italy undergoes.

Since 2003, Italy endangered thousands of immigrants; among many were refugees and potential refugees. All of them faced detention without any screening and many others deported back to their countries.

Among them, hundreds of Eritreans detained in Italian financed Libyan detentions and deported back to Eritrea by Italian financed flights. They faced abuse on their return in their country and many died either in detention or on second trial for escape.

Yet, Italy stays safe and acts as if it is free from any thing that happens in Libya and in the Mediterranean Sea. Human Rights Watch (HRW), Amnesty, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the European Union (EU) human right groups seriously criticized Italy, but Italy continued to help Libya to endanger asylum seekers and refugees mixed with illegal immigrants.

The worst Italian action to tackle the influx of immigrants starts from May 2009. The pushback policy advocated as the best way to stop the flow of immigrants to Italy, and the EU; thus Italy and Libya signed a deal that enables Italy to dump any immigrant caught in the sea back to Libya.

Libya in turn gets some patrol boats and other logistics to use to control the southern border. Not only this, but Libya seeks also to get compensation for the colonial periods the country remained under Italy.

This is not normal fund or cooperation between two countries, but the two countries do it at the cost of immigrants, many of which are refugees.

Thus, after the pushback policy started in May 2009 hundreds of asylum seekers and refugees from Eritrea and Somalia were sent back to Libya without any screening. The interception was just in the high seas and they do not get chance to apply for asylum in Italy; a country signatory to Geneva Convention and that pretends as EU member of standard human right respect.

All the pushed back Eritreans and Somalis remain in different Libyan detention centres for more than a year. The bad news is then, the detainees who spent at least one year and at most, three years in detention centres are in danger of forceful deportation back to Eritrea.

In June 30, 2010, more than 240 Eritrean refugees from Misrata detention center were transferred to Brak center near Sebha. Before their departure, they were all beaten, and many injured seriously.

Thanks to the Human right groups, journalists and Eritreans in the Diaspora, they made a loud cry on behalf of the Eritrean refugees. Italian government was exposed to condemnation and criticism.

The media itself made too much pressures on both Libya and Italy, thus they were obliged at least to mock for a while. Italy sent its delegate to Tripoli and signed an agreement.

Do not be surprised! Italy continues its hide-and-seek game on refugees. Due to the pressure from the media and the Human Rights group, Italy worked to free Eritreans from detention centres in Libya, but their asylum rights remain out side the issue.

They have given refugees very big and green paper that expires in three months, and told them that they will be free in Libya. Italy becomes very proud by what it has so far accomplished. However, the rights to apply for asylum were not part of the deal.

Detainees are arriving from the nearby detention centres, but hardly arrive from Brak. They remained in Sebha, as their papers do not allow travelling to Tripoli, where they can visit either the UNHCR or other groups.

As from the side of the released detainees, they are happy for the development as they allow them at least to see the rising of the sun like us. They miss it to much; they were eager to get fresh air and to get free Vitamin D from the sun, which God gave to every body.

They did not hesitate for the temporary freedom as they spend years in closed rooms. Yes, it is shameful for the EU, shameful for Italy and shameful for Libya, to sell the freedom and rights of refugees, and to say proudly "they are released at the cost of work".

It is more than shameful to see countries that advocate about human rights to others, breaching the basic human rights.

Else, Eritreans in Tripoli see this development as good step forward, because their brethren are taking fresh air as everybody. Yet, we urge the international community to resettle those desperate Eritreans for durable solutions.

Libya is not the destination of Eritreans; they want asylum! Give them opportunity for international protection. Else, leaving them down here is just like keeping them in other types of detention. The matter goes, from detention to detention!

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