domenica 9 giugno 2013

Fr. Zerai accusation: "In Libya, a lager with the insignia of Europe"

Emilio Drudi

"There is a lager Burshada, Libya, with the license plate of the European Union and the IOM, the Intergovernmental Organisation for Migration. In the general indifference. Of the government in Tripoli as the European registries. " And 'yet another accusation of Don Mussie Zerai, agency spokesman Habeshia. A serious charge, but the Eritrean priest for years at the forefront of the defense of the rights of refugees and migrants, says he is ready to confirm it in front of anyone and in any location, political or judicial either. Quoting witnesses, reports and presenting a series of impressive photos. The same documentation, with equally horrifying images, is available for the other two camps: Bursan and Sabha.
A Burshada, about 150 kilometers from Tripoli, there is a large group of prisoners from Eritrea: 54 young people fled from persecutions and wars of the dictator Isaias Afewerki but intercepted by militia or police shortly after crossing the Libyan border, in middle of the Sahara, while trying to head north towards the coast. Further north they got there, but in chains. Now they live crammed into a shed on which - as told in a series of phone calls made eluding the military guard - displayed the insignia of the European Community and the IOM, the most important international institution for refugees, founded in 1951 and today counts 149 member states and 12 observers, with 460 offices throughout the world and nearly 6,700 workers.
"Those desperate people who have been able to contact me, exposing themselves to huge risks of retaliation, to beatings and worse - says Father Zerai - I have reported that almost certainly find themselves in a structure built with European funds. Otherwise we could not explain the signs posted at the entrance. E 'is quite evident that neither the European Commission nor the IOM are directly responsible for the ill-treatment suffered by inmates daily. Indeed, it certainly will not even know about it directly. But these complaints should open the eyes: that is, inducing the European Union and the IOM to review their assistance policy, demanding precise guarantees on how their contributions are invested in Libya and how they are managed centers who bring their insignia. As, apparently, even Burshada. "
The situation described by phone to Burshada, in effect, is Dantesque. The 54 Eritrean detainees, all of the Christian faith, they told don Zerai to be forced to live crowded into a small space, every day at the mercy of militiamen drunk or high, firing wildly or have fun throwing stones in the pile, like a shooting gallery. A nightmare also narrated by eloquent photographs "stolen" with a cellphone and made smuggled to Habeshia. "European contributions - don Zerai complaint - are perhaps used to build camps where torture prisoners? If, as everything seems to confirm the complaints of these 54 young people have a foundation, then the question is what constitutes and if you really thought about the 'value' of cooperation between the European Union and Libya to fight 'illegal emigration. "
Is no doubt that buying even greater force in the light of the horrific reports coming from the field of Surman, also in the north of the country, where they are retained over a hundred women: 95 Eritrean, Ethiopian and other 10 10 originating in various West African countries. A dozen are pregnant. Some eighth or even the ninth month. They are the ones who suffer the most. "None of them - have told Habeshia - has never seen a doctor since I was in Libya. There is no support nor preventive controls. " It is to believe that the birth will take place in the hellish conditions of the camp, where the sanitation situation is appalling and there is a suffocating crowds. The only help can come from companions. Everyone is terrified. For themselves and for the fate that awaits their young. Not to mention the inmates sick. More and more, given the ill-treatment and living conditions in the field. Malate also serious: heart, womb, of asthma. And, all of them, "sick of lager": between harassment, beatings, torture, lack of food and even water to drink, make it increasingly difficult to survive. With these young people already collapsing there are also a dozen very young children: the oldest is only five years old, the youngest just seven months. Children who are stolen every day in childhood, forced to live as prisoners along with their mothers.
Finally, Sabha, one of the larger fields of Libya, in the south-central region. According to the latest reports, there are over 1,300 prisoners crammed in tight spaces, a condition quite similar to that illustrated by the images made from smuggled out Burshada. Torture, beatings, hunger, thirst are the daily life behind bars for men, women and children. No hope that things can improve. Do not short, however: the police are the absolute masters of the field. Without controls.
"It 's like a dark tunnel with no end - protested Don Zerai - If people in need of international protection were also held in a concentration camp in which the plates are visible EU and IOM, which organizations should represent salvation and acceptance, we must wonder who has to protect the refugees and IDPs. Then I can not launch two appeals to Europe. The first, and most immediate, is to review its relations with Libya, to demand respect for human rights and put an end to the suffering and discrimination faced by the migrants of the Christian religion and those of sub-Saharan origin. Should be reviewed immediately, in short, the entire policy on the control of migration, beginning with the disastrous bilateral pacts between Tripoli and other European registries. Included, in particular, Italy. Then, a request for a more general character, to try to solve the root problem: should be fought the reasons why so many men and women of East Africa to leave their homeland to seek a better future, a place where we can live free and in peace. What is needed, therefore, a serious struggle against hunger and famine, wars and dictatorships. The European Union has the opportunity and the means to go down this path of revolution. The political will. But denouncing alliances and collaboration with certain regimes, today justified by economic interests, it is the only way to avoid becoming complicit in crimes of ill-treatment made inhuman prisons where detainees are beaten up and killed, trafficking of slaves managed often by men in uniform, as well as by marauding outlaws. "
On June 20, we celebrate the World Day of refugees. In light of the complaints that, like this, for years continue to come from the agency Habeshia but also of many other human rights organizations and aid to refugees - as Everyone, Human Rights Watch, the Committee on Eritrean immigrants in Britain, the Israeli Hotline for Migrant Workers, Physicians for Human Rights Israel, the Eritrean Movement for Democracy, America Team for the displaced Eritreans - there is a need to make a change at this annual event reflection and solidarity. Don Zerai not hide his bitterness: "Aided by the economic crisis, but also social and moral, there was a sharp decline of human rights in the whole of Europe, where advancing more and more policies are less inclined to welcome and prone to closure more selfish, to protect the privileges of a few. In some cases, choices are made openly xenophobic. It exudes a strong sense of insecurity, often spread to art amplifying enormously news stories that involve immigrants and even inventing a nonexistent crime such as the 'underground'. Almost always for electoral gain. Now even Switzerland, traditionally more open to migration, is preparing to celebrate a referendum asked by those who want to change the laws on asylum, with the aim of closing the doors in the face of thousands of refugees. Europe as a whole prefers to finance countries like Libya, delivering the prisons of Tripoli, thousands of desperate people fleeing Eritrea, Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan. The Day of refugees can become an opportunity for a different signal: to ask all together to reverse the European Union and the governments of the Member States. There is nothing to celebrate. Rather to protest and denounce. If it will not, this event will remain an empty shell. That does not make sense to replicate. And indeed that is likely to become an alibi. "

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