Syria Genocide War Crimes

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Eritrea, Libya conspiring to deport refugees, group says

Wednesday 20 January 2010
Sudan Tribune online

January 19, 2010 (ADDIS ABABA) — An Exiled Eritrean rights group, Solidarity Association for Justice and Democracy in Eritrea said that Libyan authorities along with representative of the Eritrean government in Tripoli are conspiring to deport hundreds of Eritrean refugees who are Currently languishing in Libyan prisons.

In a statement sent to Sudan Tribune, the group accused Libyan authorities of violating, abusing and torturing Eritrean refugees, and threatening to deport them to Eritrea.

The conditions of some 700 Eritrean refugees held in Libyan prisons, many of which are women and children, have, in recent days, deteriorated, the watchdog said. Also it pointed out that their situation has further worsen after "Libyan authorities have given access to Eritrean embassy officials to these prisons, who threatened the detainees of forced deportation to Eritrea."

The Rights group expressed grave concern on the condition of the Eritrean refugees and urged the international community to denounce the deportation and to react for its suspension

"We Call for the immediate intervention of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to protect Eritrean refugees currently detained in Libya" Statement said.

According to the group’s recent information, the Libyan authorities have coerced Eritrean detainees in Surman, Azwiyah and Garabulli, to fill a form complete with picture provided by the Eritrean embassy. Anyone refusing to fill the forms being deprived of the meagre prison’s food and heavily tortured including electric shock.

"This severe action taken by the Libyan authorities has raised the alarm of Eritreans living abroad. Forced repatriation of these refugees to Eritrea seriously jeopardizes their lives, exposing them to further cruelty, torture and imprisonment."

"The fate of the Eritrean refugees deported from Malta in 2002, Libya in 2004, and finally Egypt in 2008 is still fresh in the memory of the people of Eritrea."

"They were loaded into trucks and taken directly from the airport to unknown prison locations and their families are still today persecuted," the statement further added.

The group also condemned the recent decisions by the Italian government to reject and deport back Eritrean refugees to Libya.

"it is a violence against humanity of the Eritreans fleeing the ruthless dictatorship in their country."

The group called up on the Italian political parties, labour organizations, humanitarian associations, and the Italian people to join it in denouncing the inhuman action and taking concrete actions in defend and protect Eritrean refugees in Libya.

Many of the Eritrean detainees had fled their country to escape oppression in their homeland owing to the current political crisis there. Also, as documented by Amnesty International (AI), most of these detainees are conscripts who fled from Eritrea to escape military service which is obligatory upon all citizens aged 18 to 40 and lasts for an indefinite period Many remaining in constant fear of possible deportation, Eritreans are deported from Libya and end up arrested, tortured and detained incommunicado in secret military prisons up on arrival in Eritrea

An assessment by UNHCR representatives has testified that the Eritrean refugees in Libya are being subjected to ill-treatment in; detention without charge; no access to a lawyer; no opportunity to seek asylum; confiscation of belongings.

They had not even been informed that they were being deported to Eritrea and they only found out after the plane took off.

Libya has signed and ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Organization of African Unity Convention, according to both of which Libya is obliged ‘not to return anyone to a country where they would be at risk of serious human rights violations, including torture.’ Libya also became a state party to the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families in June 2004.

However, Libya’s treatment of refugees is contrary to its commitment to the above-mentioned conventions and a blatant violation of its promises to the international community.