Fear grows for Libya migrants as thousands flee
2 March 2011
(…) Amnesty International has warned of a growing humanitarian crisis as thousands of migrants flee Libyaduring continuing unrest. (…)
(…) “All Libya’s neighbouring states must keep their borders open and provide assistance to all those fleeing violence. They are obliged to do this under international law,” said Michael Bochenek, Amnesty International's Director of Law and Policy.
“The international community must also do all it can to offer urgent support and assistance to the Tunisian authorities and other states accepting those fleeing the violence, and help migrants return safely to their home countries as quickly as possible if they desire,”
Amnesty International also said it was concerned by a report from UNHCR that migrants in Libya who originate from countries in sub-Saharan Africa were being turned back at the Tunisian border.
“All those fleeing the chaos in Libya must be given sanctuary by neighbouring states without discrimination – not refused entry and put at risk of falling victim to further violence.” (…)
(…) "The international community must also provide aid to the UNHCR and other bodies struggling to deal with this crisis. They must also act quickly, before the problem gets even worse," said Michael Bochenek.
Amnesty International is also calling for:
• Neighbouring countries to allow entry to all arrivals from Libya - of Libyan nationals as well as nationals of other states
• Receiving countries to address the immediate needs of arrivals (shelter and accommodation, food, medical services) pending their referral to appropriate services and procedures that address their situation more directly
• The international community should assist countries receiving those fleeing Libya with their immediate needs and should assist with resources necessary to ensure that people can reach a place of safety
• Allow Libyan nationals temporary protection to allow time for the situation in Libya to be clarified and possible longer-term solutions for them to be identified
• States to screen, separate, and respond appropriately to those who are implicated in serious criminal acts, notably crimes under international law
• For the referral of those who have been recognized as refugees or are asylum seekers to national asylum procedures or to UNHCR
• Provide assistance to those third-country nationals who do not claim international protection with assistance to enable them to return in safety to their homes (…)
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