mercoledì 28 novembre 2012

The odyssey of Libyan refugees in Prisons

by Emilio Drudi
Don Mussie Zerai, the president of the agency Habeshia, denounces him for almost two years: the 22 Libyan detention centers, those that the Italian government is so determined to consider shelters are camps where thousands of refugees are being held in sub-Saharan inhumane conditions, left at the mercy of violent military who wronged them, beaten to punish the slightest hint of protest, deny any form of assistance, often rape women. "Every day - Don Zerai - get news of this kind, and desperate pleas for help." Similar reports have come several times by Amnesty and other international organizations. No one, so far, has demanded an explanation and recalled its responsibility Libya. Nor has anyone asked the revolutionary government to sign finally, after more than sixty years, the Geneva Convention of 1951 on the rights of refugees. He did not, so far, not even Italy. Yet the Government Monti in Tripoli in February renewed with the general treaty of friendship and, two months later, on April 4, confirmed the agreement for the control of migration, in fact delegated to the Libyan police.
Now comes yet another confirmation of how those detention centers scattered throughout Libya are a real humanitarian emergency. Emergency which, apparently, Palazzo Chigi still does not want to see, reiterating the choice that led him to conclude new agreements in the dark, with no guarantee of protection for refugees and migrants. "Yesterday morning - reveals don Zerai - we have received more information from the terrible detention center in Kofia-Benghazi. A group of refugees, including a woman in her fourth month of pregnancy and her husband, were taken from the center run by the Red Crescent in Benghazi, and taken to the small prison Ala Lamayr. Soon after, nine of them, including a pregnant woman, were transferred to Kofia-Benghazi, where he started a real ordeal: Cruel mistreatment and beatings for no reason. The woman was hit so hard that cause her an abortion. He lost a lot of blood, but the only ones who try to lend assistance were the companions. Prison guards have not lifted a finger to help her. This is not an isolated case. In the prison of Ganfuda, in Benghazi, hundreds of refugees left to themselves. They only have what they wear. Not a spare t-shirt, very little food, no medicines. And, moreover, required in some large rooms, in the dark, for weeks. Several witnesses reported that they do is go out and paid them a minimum of attention only when some delegations arrived on an official visit. Then the torture begins again. In the detention center Shurman there are young men and women in need of medical care. Three were in serious condition, but I do not receive assistance. Why were given them at least a painkiller, they had to do the hunger strike all inmates, about 150, from various African countries: 30 Eritreans and Ethiopians then, Somali, Malian ... ".
It 'a complaint that goes to swell the already voluminous dossier on the general situation of refugees in Libya and, in particular, on the living conditions in prisons and detention centers, they don Zerai delivered in early November, during a formal oral hearing in Brussels, the European commission for Home Affairs and Human Rights. A dossier dramatic, citing location, episodes, characters, witnesses are ready to confirm the complaints which Habeshia and other humanitarian organizations are doing for months, years, without being heard.
In the face of a report so detailed, the two European commission agreed that must be inserted between the most urgent issues to review the policy of hospitality, to make it less close the "Fortress Europe" in all the states that compose it. And in any case, they reported not to share the bilateral agreements concluded with individual European governments with African partners to control emigration. A judgment which, although not expressed in explicit terms, it is in many ways a call to Italy for the treaty with Libya.
Definitely for the withdrawal of this treaty is, from the beginning, Amnesty International, which, breaking the strange "mute" around him, he has discovered and revealed for the first terms, similar to those set out in the agreement signed previously by Berlusconi and Gaddafi and that cost Italy an official condemnation by the European Court of Human Rights. The formal request for cancellation has been delivered in recent days to Interior Minister Anna Maria Cancellieri, with the support of over 30 000 signatures collected throughout Europe with a petition supra. "Our battle - said Giusy D'Alconzo, director of the Office of Amnesty search - did not stop with the delivery of that call with 30 thousand signatures. We will continue to press for agreements with Tripoli will be deleted and will not be signed until the new Libya will not be guaranteed the human rights of refugees, asylum seekers and migrants, now in great danger. "
Don Zerai is on the same wavelength. "It 's absurd - denounced in Brussels to Baroness Cecilia Malmstrom, EU Commissioner for Home Affairs - that some EU Member States, such as Italy, subscribe agreements with governments that do not respect the rights of the most basic and universally recognized in every man and, a fortiori, to displaced persons and refugees, the last of the last. Libya, which has never signed the Geneva Convention of 1951, can not do the gendarme of Europe, in violation of every law and trampled human dignity. The same applies to other governments in North Africa. " Now, in the wake of the latest dramatic news arrived from Benghazi, to turn back to Brussels: "Europe must act on the government in Tripoli. You can watch a lot of violence and abuse, without saying or doing anything to stop it. "
Following the hearing a month ago with Don Zerai, the European Commission have assured that as soon as the new executive Libya had taken full powers, have made contacts at the highest levels to demand the guarantee of respect for the rights of all foreigners in the country and the freedom of access for the UN High Commission officials, in order to allow verification and control constants. Species in prisons and detention centers. You can not wait. For each day, each hour that passes, the Europe and Italy become increasingly complicit in the violence of this authentic humanitarian emergency.

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