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Libya’s violent crackdown on migrants and refugees escalates

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Libya’s violent crackdown on migrants and refugees escalates

They rightly ask for the protection of the international community, which must act now

OSLO, Norway, October 10, 2021 / APO Group / –

Libya’s violent crackdown on migrants and refugees escalated with at least six gunshot deaths after several hundred people fled a major detention center in Tripoli on October 8.

At least seven people who sustained serious injuries required immediate medical attention for their life-threatening injuries the next day. Injured migrants and refugees are among the thousands Libyan authorities arrested a week ago in an unprecedented crackdown, doubling the total number of migrants and refugees in detention to around 10,000 in one week.

“Migrants and refugees in Tripoli have never been so desperate as they are today. They rightly ask for the protection of the international community, which must act now, ”said Dax Roque, Norwegian Refugee Council Country Director for Libya.

The Norwegian Refugee Council is stepping up emergency aid and providing protection by deploying teams to help negotiate and prevent these vulnerable people, especially those who are injured, from being detained again. The number of calls for help through a hotline run by the Norwegian Refugee Council has increased in recent days, with countless calls from migrants and refugees telling us they have nowhere to go.

Most of the calls from migrants and refugees asked for help finding accommodation for fear of arrest and support to access resettlement in a safe country.

For those who lived in the town of Gargaresh, where the crackdown began over a week ago, their homes are now blocked off by the authorities. A man called us yesterday and told us that he was shot while trying to ask for help and was forced to seek refuge in a nearby mosque. This terrifying new reality for migrants and refugees has been ignored by the international community, especially the European states which have supported the Libyan authorities with assistance.

The Norwegian Refugee Council calls on the international community not only to demand the release of those recently detained, but also to bring them to safety once they are released. Evacuation flights and resettlement out of the country must resume immediately.

“In recent months, we have seen dozens of countries reopen embassies and reestablish diplomatic relations with the Libyan authorities after years of conflict and instability, we urge these governments to push for the protection of those most in need. need their support. said Dax Roque.

Next month, France is expected to host an international conference for Libya ahead of the scheduled elections. Although the conference is supposed to focus on the political process in Libya, the events of recent weeks demonstrate that the protection of migrants and refugees in Libya can no longer be ignored by these discussions.

“The international community must recognize its role in fueling this latest crisis in Libya and secure a commitment from the Libyan authorities to end violence against migrants and refugees in the country,” said Dax Roque.

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