On Thursday, dozens of refugees and African migrants staged a protest outside the UN High Commissioner for Refugees’ (UNHCR) headquarters in Tripoli.
The outraged protesters held up signs in Arabic explaining their demands. They called for an end to the racial discrimination they face, more protection and safety, and an end to violence committed against them.
This comes two days after the murder of a Nigerian migrant worker by three Libyan nationals. He was reportedly burned alive, outside a factory in the Tajoura district of Tripoli.
Notably, Amnesty International accused the European Union for being the cause of such violations against refugees, and migrants in Libya. Their suffering has been exacerbated by restrictions, imposed due to the outbreak of COVID-19.
The NGO also criticized the EU for supporting the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA), and its coastguard. The latter’s task is to intercept refugees and migrants at sea, and return them back to Libya. The International Organisation for Migration (IOM), and many others, have long warned that it was not safe for migrants to be returned to the conflict-ridden country.
Oil-rich Libya has become a key route for refugees and migrants wanting to reach Europe. This is especially true since the chaotic years following the 2011 overthrow and killing of Muammar Gaddafi.