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Libya faces haraga epidemic

Libya rescued 340 illegal migrants on Monday (May 12th) when their boat began to take on water.

The vessel was intercepted around 6:00 am in waters off Sabratha and Zuwara, near the border with Tunisia, AFP quoted naval spokesman Colonel Ayub Kassem as saying.

The same day, at least 14 migrants died when their boat sank between Libya and Italy, It was the latest in a string of tragedies to hit migrants in the Mediterranean.

Just last Friday, Libya arrested 436 immigrants from Syria, Eritrea and Somalia, according to interior ministry spokesman Rami Kaal. Some were transferred to a detention centre west of Tripoli.

Magharebia visited the camp, where we found troops from the Libyan Revolutionaries Operations Room.

A boat was trying to get the migrants to Italy, camp commander Salah Wadi said.

“They were about 200 people, of different nationalities. The ones we have in the camp are Eritrean nationals,” he told Magharebia.

One of the migrants, Eritrean Abrar Jamal, said he was smuggled from Sudan and then to Libya. “I paid money and went to the city of Ajdabiya and stayed there three weeks, and then paid more to escape to Italy,” Jamal said.

Fellow Eritrean Ahmed Hussein said he worked in Sudan to help his family. He added that if he returned to his country they would kill him, saying, “The government kills all those who want to return to the country.”

Libyan civil society steps in

With Libya facing a growing migration crisis, civil society groups are looking to do their part to help alleviate the suffering.

“Libya is a transit country where immigrants gather to prepare for their journey northwards towards the Mediterranean Sea, especially Italy and Malta,” the Arab Organisation for Human Rights’ Libya branch chief said at a Beirut seminar last month.

Libya now has 19 shelter centres, including two for women, Abdel Moneim al-Horr added.

“There’s an average of 6,000 immigrants at these centres, and the Libyan government spends 180,000 dinars every day, let alone the other security, health and economic repercussions,” he said.

The Beirut training covered several issues related to immigrants, from countries’ obligations and responsibilities towards refugees to forms of racial discrimination.

“As newly-created Libyan civil society organisations, we need more knowledge about immigration issues and how to tackle them according to the international humanitarian law and local legislations,” said Adel al-Fitouri, the executive manager of Horiyat Group for Development and Human Rights and the regional director of the Berlin-based Centre of Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution.

Article by Essam Mohamed, Magharebia.

This article was originally published here.

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