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ALERT: Libya – ongoing forced deportation of Eritrean refugees

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Eritrean refugees detained and tortured in Libyan prisons.

Islamic Human Rights Commission

25 January 2010

ALERT: Libya – ongoing forced deportation of Eritrean refugees

1. Summary
2. Background
3. Action required

1. Summary

Hundreds of Eritrean refugees fled their country and entered Libya illegally. They are currently being detained in Libya at various detention facilities and are under threat of being deported back to Eritrea. Libyan authorities have mistreated the refugees and deported many of them back to Eritrea. Some of the refugees died in the detentions camps due to the inhumane treatment.

2. Background

On the 11 January 2010, Eritrean officials visited Misratha, Zawiyah, Zlitan and Gruble-2 prisons. The aim of the visit was to return political detainees which were on their list.

Guards of Gruble-2 prison tried to coerce the detainees to fill in forms provided by officials from the Eritrean Embassy. The documents were believed to be used for deportation purposes. An uncorroborated source stated that “...they refused to fill in the forms, they have only one life to live and cannot risk it.” Guards at the prison forced detainees to complete the forms, by subjecting them to torture, beatings and electric shocks.

In the meantime, Libyan authorities are in the process of returning 105 Eritrean refugees to Asmara city, Capital of Eritrea, while the families of the refugees stated that they do not know their whereabouts. Medical examinations carried out by the Libyan authorities have revealed that the detainees suffer from hepatitis and skin rashes due to the dreadful conditions at the prisons. They were held in solitary confinement, given no treatment and were told that due to their illnesses they will be deported to their country.

It has also been reported that Libyan police and authorities are generally mistreating refugee detainees and torturing them physically and psychologically through beating, electrocution, rape and intimidation.

The Libyan government has failed to implement the international conventions it has ratified such as the Convention against Torture, Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment of Punishment and the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees.

IHRC urges the Libyan government to cease the ongoing deportation of refugees immediately and prevent mistreatment and torture against the refuges as it violates various international human rights conventions.

3. Action required

a) Write to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in your country requesting them to appeal for the welfare of the refugees in Libya.

UK campaigners can write to:

Rt. Hon. David Miliband MP
Foreign & Commonwealth Office
King Charles Street

Fax: +44 0207 839 2417
Email: private.office@fco.gov.uk

b) Write to the Libyan Ambassador in your country urging him/her to treat refugees in accordance with international human rights standards.

UK campaigners can write to:

The People's Bureau of the Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya
HE MR Abdurrahman Shalgam
15 Knightsbridge

Fax: +44 207 245 0588

c) Write to United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and appeal to him to take urgent action regarding the state of the Eritrean refugees in Libya and to extend their efforts to resettle them.

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
High Commissioner Mr. Antonio Guterres
Case Postale 2500
CH-1211 Genève 2 Dépôt

Alternatively you can email UNHCR by visiting link http://www.unhcr.org/cgi-bin/texis/vtx/contact?hq=y

For more information, please contact the office on the numbers or email below


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"And what reason have you that you should not fight in the way of Allah and of the weak among the men and the women and the children, (of) those who say: Our Lord! Cause us to go forth from this town, whose people are oppressors, and give us from Thee a guardian and give us from Thee a helper."
Holy Qur'an: Chapter 4, Verse 75

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Islamic Human Rights Commission
PO Box 598
United Kingdom

Telephone (+44) 20 8904 4222
Fax (+44) 20 8904 5183
Email: info@ihrc.org
Web: www.ihrc.org

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