CALL FOR THE EVACUATION OF AFRICANSLAVES STRANDED IN LIBYA
It goes without saying that neo-colonialist policies create the social and economic conditions for African youth to be easily attracted by the mirage of irregular migration.
It goes without saying that the laws and policies of the EU since the mid-1980s have been aimed at encouraging irregular migration by closing the main legal entry routes.
The fact that these policies have been implemented in conjunction with the failure to cancel the debts of African countries and the consequent neo-colonialism also obtained through the corruption of the African political class and the militarisation of the most strategic areas under the pretext of the fight against terrorism is taken for granted.
We would like to recall the dramatic situation of the 700,000 African men and women workers stranded in Libya.
EVACUATION WHY: NATURAL SELECTION
Ever since "Exodus - Escape from Libya" began publishing the voice messages of migrant-slaves in Libya in September 2018, it became clear how unanimous the demand was for evacuation, a word largely absent, on the contrary, in the European debate, both institutional and movementist. Evacuation is a key word for a couple of reasons.
By now, everyone is aware that crossing in deflated dinghies is nothing more than natural selection. It goes without saying that natural selection cannot be the principle on which any kind of assistance is organised.
These dinghies are not even capable by themselves of covering the distance between the Libyan coast and Lampedusa, but they sink not even halfway due to the cooling of the air with which they are pumped and they often sink without leaving a trace.
Such blackmail, when that is often the only way to escape the country, is unnecessary suffering inflicted on these trapped people.
Not only that, in most cases the dinghies are caught by the Libyan Coast Guard or any other private Libyan with a boat and brought back to land where they very often return to the hands of torturers who subject them to torture for extortion or sell them as slaves.
This practice of crossing the Mediterranean on deflated rubber dinghies must therefore be stopped, as asked "Exodus" in dozens of voice messages. As this work proves, after all, almost all migrants in Libya access the internet and use social networks. It is in this way that they can learn about the activities of rescue boats at sea and thus give in to the temptation to risk their lives.
These internet communication channels should instead be used to implement a campaign that does not encourage them to risk their lives once again, but rather to turn to alternative solutions. Alternative solutions, however, are lacking.
When Africans in Libya call for evacuation, it means that those entitled to asylum, estimated at around 50,000 in Libya according to the UNHCR, should be evacuated by air to major European capitals as part of an EU initiative that bypasses the Dublin agreement and allows those entitled to international protection to fly safely from Tripoli to the major capitals of European states.
EVACUATION WHY: SLAVERY
By now, after years stranded in Libya, many have come to understand what the system is in Tripolitania and have no hope that things will change.
Of the 700,000 sub-Saharan Africans on Libyan soil reported by UNHCR, in 2020 only 10,000 of them reached Europe by sea, or 1 in 70. For this reason, the vast majority of young West Africans still on Libyan soil are desperately asking to be repatriated.
Each of them arrived in Libya years ago, betrayed by fellow countrymen belonging to African mafia networks who sold them to militias, subjected to torture for extortion several times over the years and the rest of the time reduced to slavery or runaways.
Faced with this scenario that Europe and the world do not even want to see, the rest of the sub-Saharan Africans in Libya who today cannot access international protection are at least asking to be repatriated.
TUNISIA: FROM MISSED CORRIDOR TO NEW LAND OF EMIGRATION
Several thousand young black Africans from Libya have fled in droves to Tunisia. After contacting UNHCR in Tunisia and other organisations there, they received no reassurances about repatriation or resettlement and after years of waiting decided to make the crossing from Tunisia.
The shorter distance, the use of small wooden boats instead of the deflated dinghies of Libya and the willingness of some Tunisian families to help, have led to an increasing number of spontaneous landings on Lampedusa and the Sicilian coast in recent months.
Spontaneous landings, however, are in stark contrast to the presence on Lampedusa of a huge military control system.
This is just one of the spontaneous and risky landings that an irresponsible policy towards young black Africans stranded for years in Libya has led to. This is because those who find themselves in Libya today are not really in a dynamic of migration, but in a dynamic of slavery, and the priority is to get out, in whatever direction, and not to wait for the right moment to continue.
THE UNHOLY PACT: OIL IN EUROPE, SLAVES IN AFRICA
We know that the impunity enjoyed by Tripoli west coast militias is a necessary condition for them to be able to smuggle up to 40% of Libyan oil, as Mustafa Sanalla (director of the NOC - National Oil Corporation) has repeatedly denounced. We are well aware that this impunity then spills over into the treatment of migrants, who are reduced to a commodity from which to make further profit through unpaid forced labour and torture for the purpose of extortion.
We are well aware that the majority of Libyan citizens, even in Tripoli, are calling first and foremost for the dismantling of the militias, which have now been joined by 20,000 Syrian mercenaries airlifted into Libya by Turkey in defiance of the embargo decided at the Berlin conference last January.
We are well aware that there can be no dismantling of the militias, let alone the arrest of criminals and traffickers, as long as the various governments that succeed one another in Tripoli are illegitimate and cast from on high by the "international community" with the endorsement of the UN, so as to provide an umbrella for those militias, criminals and traffickers who provide the military support necessary to remain in office.
We know, moreover, that guaranteeing impunity to those militias is also in the interests of the economies, whether they are emerging or submerged, of Europe and Turkey, which in recent years have benefited from 40% of Libyan oil under the table and at low cost.
Finally, we know very well that the Berlin 2 conference sanctioned Turkey's military occupation of Tripolitania (2 bases and 4 ports under extraterritoriality) and that Italy supports irregular military formations in Tripoli linked to Isis in order to obtain crumbs of future Libyan oil from Turkey.
WE THEREFORE CALL FOR
- A stop to the death boat crossings, not through the intervention of the Libyan Coast Guard, but as a consequence of the arrest of the traffickers in Libya and through a vast internet campaign that provides young Africans in Libya with correct information about what they are going through.
- The immediate repatriation of all African men and women workers in Libya who request it.
- The resettlement by air to Europe or third countries of those who have already been granted international protection in Libya.
- The withdrawal of Italian support to the Dabaiba government, an umbrella for the Turkish occupation of Tripolitania and the so-called "Libyan forces" made up of Syrian mercenaries and jihadist militias linked to Isis.