Refugees in Libya, in a Crossfire
Since the fall of the former dictator -Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, Libya has turned into a place of war between different military forces. In the process, many refugees were caught in a crossfire and many were held in inhumane conditions. In December 2017, CNN brought light to the Slave trade of refugees that has been going on in the country. Libya has been the gateway for many North and West African refugees to cross the perilous Mediterranean Sea to Europe in unsafe boats since the early 2000s.
Libyan armed forces in an active war. Source - Getty image
Having been kept in overcrowded facilities for several years: refugees in Libya faced beating, abuse, and unhygienic situation. Military personnel has the ultimate power over the refugees and abusive treatment have become a common practice. In recent months the situation got even worse, some of the refugees were taken from the facilities they were in and no one knows their whereabouts.
Refugees in one of Tripoli's overcrowded prison facility. Source - Getty image
Speaking to Voice of America - a US Department of State-run radio program
, - some of the refugees pleaded with the world and the international organizations to do what it takes to save them from the hands of Libyan military forces.
Officials representing UNHCR did visit the facilities but with little follow up on the situation of the refugees. Some of the refugees are in the hands of UNHCR, the vast majority are in prison halls under Libyan Military forces.
As a result of an active war that started on Monday the 3rd of September in the City of Tripoli, many of the refugees were forced to flee Sharie Meter prison facility. The refugees found themselves in a crossfire in which some were wounded as a result. Many also still in other prisons facilities in the hands of Libyan forces such as those in Teriga Sika, Tajura, Ziwara. Majority of these refugees are from Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, Niger, and Nigeria.
It is most likely this chaotic situation in Libya could offer an opportunity for traffickers to offer Mediterranean crossings to desperate refugees. Having been stranded in Libya for years, the refugees will take any option available.
More than 1500 refugees, mostly men escape their prison facility in Tripoli. Source - Getty image
What needs to be done
1, UNHCR to immediately find a way to move the refugees out of Libya to a temporary facility and later to permanent resettlement.
2, The African Union, to assist in the safety of these refugees and in bringing Libyan fighting forces to uphold the truce reached in August of this year.
3, EU, US, and the Arab League to pressure Libyan forces to accept and follow the truce reached. Both the US and EU are part of the problem for the war in Libya today, by interfering in the removal of the former dictator without being requested. They, therefore have the responsibility of restoring peace and order in the country.