Home Today's Paper Most Popular Video Gallery Photo Gallery
Subscription Blog Signin Register
Logo
Wednesday, November 22, 2017 07:07:30 PM
Follow Us On: Facebook Twitter Twitter Twitter Twitter

Refugees are nothing but commodities

By
12th-Nov-2017       
Comments
Share your thought
Post a comment »
Read all () »

Daan Bauwens :
As countless refugees arriving on Italy's shores report torture, extortion and forced labour in Libyan detention centers, many say they never intended to make the journey to Europe until the chaos in Libya left them no other choice.
"We were still working on the construction site when I was taken apart from the others. The guard pulled his gun, aimed it at me and told me he'd shoot if I tried to walk away. After ten minutes of trembling with fear, a truck arrived and I was ordered to get in. We drove to a beach where a crowd was being kept at gunpoint by other guards in uniforms. They forced us to board a Zodiac and pushed us into the open sea. The second day we were saved by a European ship."
Amidou Kone (23) now lives in Follonica, in a refugee center that used to be a tourist campsite in Tuscany. He is one of the 113,722 refugees who made the passage from Libya to Italy, the deadliest crossing in the world with a total of 2,714 fatalities from the start of the year up until now.
Amidou left his home country of the Ivory Coast after his entire family was killed during a raid in the 2011 war. After passing through Burkina Faso and working as a shepherd for a farmer in Niger, he is certain he was sold to Libyan militias after a business trip with his boss to Libya. "They wanted me to call my family for ransom," he says, "but didn't want to believe that everyone had died so they started torturing me." Amidou shows the scars on his head, caused by blows with Kalashnikov stocks. He points at the blank spots around his right index and right ankle. "They tried to cut off my finger with a knife and then they wanted to beat my foot with a flashlight. Why so much cruelty? I don't have the faintest idea."
Kidnapping industry
For over two years, the cruelty of detention in Libyan detention camps has been widely reported and denounced but with no immediate end in sight. Two months ago, the head of MSF Joanne Liu wrote an open letter calling the Libyan detention system "rotten to the bone", "a thriving enterprise of kidnapping, torture and extortion." She accused Europe of being complicit in the situation as the Union, "blinded by the single-minded goal of keeping people outside of Europe", funds Libya to help stop the boats from departing.
Bai, 19 years old from Mali, arrived on the Sicilian coast in early September. He remembers several mass kidnappings. "There was forty of us living in a house in the city," he says. "One eventing two men with Kalashnikovs came in, started shouting. They told us to get aboard vehicles waiting in the street. We were locked up, they beat us with sticks and chains. We had to call home.
Anyone who could convince their family to send money was allowed to go. My family agreed, but I was caught by another group the following week. There wasn't any more money left so they put me to work to pay my trip to Europe."
Under laws passed with Europe's encouragement during the reign of Muammar Ghadaffi, immigration is illegal in Libya and the country does not offer asylum. Every undocumented migrant is therefore liable for detention.
Various rival governments and militias run networks of detention centers. UNHCR can only enter 29 of them, run by the department to counter illegal migration (DCIM), headed by the Serraj government, the government Europe chose to recognize. The total number of camps is unknown and international funding for "official" camps has ignited a battle for control over these camps by armed groups looking for money or international legitimacy.
Forced to cross
In the meantime, both DCIM officials and militias rent out detainees to local employers for personal profit. Amidou and Boi also fell victim to forced labour while detained. "Two years as a mason," Amidou tells, "without payment. In those two years, I've seen nothing but water and bread." When he was eventually found to be too weak for work, he was taken to the boat.
"Refugees are nothing but commodities," says Anaspasia Papadopoulou, senior policy advisor at the European Council for Refugees and Exiles (ECRE) in Brussels. "Militias use them to make a profit. When they are no longer useful, they need to get rid of them."
Amidou's forced crossing is echoed in the stories told by countless other migrants. In fact, many of them them didn't come to Libya to cross to Europe but turn out to have lived and worked in the country for years. Balde Tcherno (37) from Guinea-Bissau was a shoe salesman for five years, making the trip home once every year to be with his family. On his last trip back in 2011, he was arrested and forced, at gunpoint, to board a boat to Italy. Rockson Adams (27) from Ghana arrived in Libya after the removal of Ghadaffi and got a lucrative job in construction, but after two years he was kidnapped and forced to pay ransom. After killings in his circle of friends and explosions in his area, he decided to pay a smuggler to cross over.
"The refugee flow from Libya is clearly a mix," says Anaspasia Papadopoulo. "There's people who already lived in the country and who went there because until a few years back, it was still a rich country.
Then there's the internally displaced Libyans. And of course there's the Sub-Saharan Africans, Bangladeshis and Syrians who've come to Libya with the intention of crossing. Many fall victim to exploitation and into the hands of traffickers instead of smugglers."
According to some analysts, the situation is making it hard to separate "economic migrants" from "refugees" as many who travelled to Libya for work become victims of exploitation and violence.
-IPS

Tariff
Add Rate

News Archive

Inside The New Nation

Editorial »

HC verdict is well meaning: Hospitals must appreciate


THE High Court ordered hospitals and clinics not to hold body of a deceased if his or her family fails to immediately pay the medical bill to release the body. It has also asked the Health Secretary and the Director General of the Directorate of Health Services to issue a ...

International »

Putin, Assad for political solution to Syria`s conflict


Reuters, Moscow  :Russian President Vladimir Putin hosted Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad to talk about the need to move from military operations to the search for a political solution to Syria's conflict, the Kremlin said on Tuesday.Russia is actively trying to build an international consensus around a peace deal for Syria, ...

Sports »

A scene from the opening ceremony of the Omicon Group 43rd National A Chess Championship held at Bangladesh Chess Federation hall-room on Tuesday.


Sports »

Sharapova named in India luxury housing fraud probe


AFP, New Delhi :Five-time Grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova is under investigation in India for cheating and criminal conspiracy after the collapse of a luxury housing project that she endorsed, police and a lawyer said Tuesday.The firm behind the development is alleged to have taken millions of dollars from homebuyers ...

Entertainment »

Janhvi dazzles at IFFI in ethnic wear


Janhvi Kapoor who is all set mark her Bollywood debut with Karan Johar’s Dhadak opposite Ishaan Khatter makes a dazzling entry at 48th IFFI 2017 in Goa. Janhvi was accompanied by her mother Sridevi and father Boney Kapoor. Janhvi looked elegant wearing Anamika Khanna lehenga choli. It is probably Janhvi’s ...

City »

Uphold image of Armed Forces: President


President M Abdul Hamid on Tuesday asked the members of Armed Forces to uphold their image at national and international levels by ensuing utmost professionalism. "Uphold the image of the armed forces . . . Help continue the country's ongoing development trend in the days to come," President's Press Secretary ...

Editorial »

Use of toxic tannery wastes in poultry feed


MEDIA reports said an increasing number of poultry feed mills using dangerously toxic tannery wastes laced with poisonous chemicals as raw materials remain the biggest threat to public health. They are moreover flouting is a ban of the High Court for producing and marketing the toxic feed for animals which ...

International »

Putin plan to rejuvenate Russian politics makes slow progress


Reuters, Moscow :Poised to run for a fourth term, President Vladimir Putin has started clearing out the old Russian political elite and says he's bringing in young people with "fire in their eyes."But a Reuters analysis shows that he has made limited progress so far.In the run up to March ...

Sports »

Participants run during the Delhi Half Marathon in New Delhi, India on Sunday. Ethiopia's Birhanu Legese and Almaz Ayana won the men's and women's elite categories, respectively.


Entertainment »

Bollywood congratulates Manushi Chillar on winning Miss World crown


After a wait of 17 long years, Indian model Manushi Chhillar has won the Miss World crown. Since yesterday’s announcement, many Bollywood celebs and public figures have congratulated her on winning the prestigious event. Here are some endearing messages from Bollywood celebs: The Megastar of Bollywood Amitabh Bachchan congratulated Manushi ...

Entertainment »

Runa Khan coming with her first movie


Sheikh Arif Bulbon :Most of her colleagues always appreciate the acting of Runa Khan. There is no other alternative or choice of her in TV plays. So she has acceptability among the directors. Viewers also like her acting. Runa will entertain the viewers by virtue of her acting skill with ...

City »

BNP Chairperson Begum Khaleda Zia cutting cake marking birthday of BNP Senior Vice-Chairman Tarique Rahman at her Gulshan office in the city on the early hours of Monday.


National »

GAFFARGAON: Vice-Chairman of the Central Committee of Muktijodha Sanghati Parishad Major (Retd.) Md Rezaul Karim, a veteran freedom fighter and an Awami League leader addressing a meeting on his participation in the coming National Election as a candidate from Awami League in the election area Mymensingh-10 (Gaffargaon & Pagla PS) Primary School field, Gaffargaon on Friday. Among others, freedom fighter Mofazzal Hossain, Auditor (retd.) Alhaj Abdul Karim and Ex Ward Member Saiful Islam also spoke in the meeting at Charalgi (Nidiar Char) .


Editorial »

Higher production capacity for power plants


THE state-owned power plants can't generate electricity to a minimum of their stated capacity as they lack improved technology, besides management failure to achieve the highest output as per a report in The New Nation on Sunday. The report quoting Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) said its power plants can ...

International »

Hariri announces return to Lebanon as crisis simmers


AP, Paris :Lebanon's Prime Minister Saad Hariri said he will return home in the coming days from where he will declare a political stance for the first time since making a strange resignation announcement from Saudi Arabia that unleashed fears of a crisis in Lebanon.Hariri and his family met Saturday ...

 
Items that you save may be read at any time on your computer, iPad, iPhone or Android devices.
 
Are you new to our website? Do you have already an account at our website?
Create An Account Log in here
Email this news to a friend or like someone
Email:
Write a comment to this news