80+1 » Libya http://www.80plus1.org A Journey Around the World Thu, 25 Nov 2010 14:24:05 +0000 http://wordpress.org/?v=2.7.1 en hourly 1 North African migrants stopped near Lampedusa, returned to Tripoli http://www.80plus1.org/blog/north-african-migrants-stopped-near-lampedusa-returned-to-tripoli http://www.80plus1.org/blog/north-african-migrants-stopped-near-lampedusa-returned-to-tripoli#comments Tue, 04 Aug 2009 14:37:52 +0000 Cyrus Farivar http://www.80plus1.org/?p=2732 Last week, 14 North African migrants were picked up by an Italian boat 30 miles off the coast of Lampedusa and 90 miles off the coast of Malta. Initially the Italian authorities refused to send any officers to the location…

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Last week, 14 North African migrants were picked up by an Italian boat 30 miles off the coast of Lampedusa and 90 miles off the coast of Malta. Initially the Italian authorities refused to send any officers to the location as they claimed that Lampedusa was not considered the “closest, safest port.”

Eventually an Italian patrol boat eventually picked them up and turned them over to a Libyan navy vessel, which took them back to Tripoli, despite the pleas of the UNHCR not to do so. The UNHCR has been very critical of Italy’s handling of repatriating migrants.

Indeed, reports Malta Today:

Fisherman Nicolò Russo from Mazara del Vallo who steered the trawler expressed his dismay at the intransigence shown by both Malta and Italy towards the migrants who were reportedly terrified of the prospect of being repatriated to Libya.

In a related story on the island nation, an off-duty detention officer caught two migrants last night who had escaped their holding cell, reports the Times of Malta.

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EU wants Turkey, Libya to help with illegal immigration http://www.80plus1.org/blog/eu-wants-turkey-libya-to-help-with-illegal-immigration http://www.80plus1.org/blog/eu-wants-turkey-libya-to-help-with-illegal-immigration#comments Mon, 20 Jul 2009 17:12:04 +0000 Cyrus Farivar http://www.80plus1.org/?p=2418 In a recent meeting of EU justice ministers in Stockholm, the European Justice Commissioner, Jacques Barrot (pictured), said that the EU is seeking new negotiations with Turkey and Libya to try to curb illegal immigration into Europe.

The commissioner told…

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In a recent meeting of EU justice ministers in Stockholm, the European Justice Commissioner, Jacques Barrot (pictured), said that the EU is seeking new negotiations with Turkey and Libya to try to curb illegal immigration into Europe.

The commissioner told reporters that he planned on going to Libya after the summer break, and then would go on to Turkey in the fall.

Specifically, the EU is asking that Libya sign the Geneva Convention on human rights and to better protect persecuted people and would assist in making it easier for asylum seekers to begin their process while still in Libya.

While Turkey is probably more likely to want to cooperate, as it is an EU candidate state, Libya is asking for over 200 million euros, according to the Agence France Presse. While this does seem like an extraordinary sum, Tripoli apparently needs the cash to better patrol its land borders with Niger and Chad.

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UNHCR, Italy in tit-for-tat spat over migrants http://www.80plus1.org/blog/unhcr-italy-in-tit-for-tat-spat-over-migrants http://www.80plus1.org/blog/unhcr-italy-in-tit-for-tat-spat-over-migrants#comments Wed, 15 Jul 2009 16:35:22 +0000 Cyrus Farivar http://www.80plus1.org/?p=2325 According to The Associated Press, the UN High Commission for Refugees said yesterday that Eritrean refugees were “mistreated by the Italian navy when it intercepted them in the Mediterranean,” off the coast of Lampedusa.

Ron Redmond, the UNHCR’s spokesman, said that…

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According to The Associated Press, the UN High Commission for Refugees said yesterday that Eritrean refugees were “mistreated by the Italian navy when it intercepted them in the Mediterranean,” off the coast of Lampedusa.

Ron Redmond, the UNHCR’s spokesman, said that the naval officers did not attempt to figure out if the migrants were legitimate refugees or not.

Of the 82 migrants that were interviewed by the UNHCR at a facility in Libya, 76 were found to be Eritrean.

“The individuals also alleged that their personal effects, including vital documents, were seized by the Italian navy during the operation and have not yet been returned to them,” he said, according to the AP. “Those interviewed spoke of their distress after four days at sea and said that the Italian navy did not offer them any food during the 12-hour operation to return them to Libya.”

However, Italian officials denied the accusations, and European Affairs Minister Andrea Ronchi called the charges “repugnant and false,” according to the Agence France Presse.

The news agency added:

He demanded an apology from the UNHCR, calling the allegations “hasty, false, demogogical, offensive and repugnant, hurting our armed forces who show the world their morality, humanity, competence and sacrifice every day.”

He said the refugee agency “should be ashamed (for) these repugnant and false accusations,” the ANSA news agency reported.

Ronchi added: “What perplexes us the most is that the UN High Commissioner for Refugees would issue a communique without checking the testimony that was gathered with the Italian authorities.”

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Lampedusa migration holding site now empty http://www.80plus1.org/blog/lampedusa-migration-holding-site-now-empty http://www.80plus1.org/blog/lampedusa-migration-holding-site-now-empty#comments Thu, 25 Jun 2009 21:13:41 +0000 Cyrus Farivar http://www.80plus1.org/?p=1927 Since earlier this month, the migration holding site at Lampedusa has been entirely emptied. Yes, astonishingly, the same location that once held 1,800 migrants has been entirely devoid of anyone being held at the center.

According to an account earlier this month…

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Since earlier this month, the migration holding site at Lampedusa has been entirely emptied. Yes, astonishingly, the same location that once held 1,800 migrants has been entirely devoid of anyone being held at the center.

According to an account earlier this month from Human Rights Watch, the last 20 asylum seekers were transferred to a facility on mainland Italy, while most other new migrants coming by boat have been forcibly escorted back to Libya via joint Libyan-Italian naval patrols.

“The emptying of Lampedusa is no cause for celebration,” said Bill Frelick, refugee policy director at Human Rights Watch, in a statement. “Many people will no longer have an opportunity to seek or find asylum from war and persecution and almost all will be subjected to indefinite detention in Libyan detention centers, where conditions are poor and allegations of abuse are rife.”

In addition, recent media reports in The Guardian also indicate that the Belusconi and Gaddafi governments have joined up in a tit-for-tat alliance, whereby Italy will provide $200 per year over the next 25 years for investments in infrastructure in Libya. The north African nation, for its part, will contribute patrol boats and will agree to house Italian desert radar stations to track potential migrants to the north.

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