Refugees cycling from Frankfurt to Brussels to raise awareness of those trapped in Libya

Last week, a group of refugees arrived in Brussels to hold a demonstration outside the European External Action Service, European Council and the European Commission, after they cycled the 475-kilometre route from Frankfurt, aiming to raise awareness of the situation of asylum seekers currently trapped in Libya.

published at the website of the GUE/NGL;

This #Ride4Justice initiative is organised by Eritrean refugee activists from all over Europe.

Abraham, co-organiser of the initiative explains: “We are riding for our brothers and sisters who are trapped in Libya. Currently, nearly 3,000 people are imprisoned in the migration detention centres in Libya’s war zone. An estimated 10,000 who are trapped in well-documented inhumane and degrading conditions in other camps are at risk of forced recruitment into the ensuing conflict. This is an immediate result of the EU’s politics of containment.

Following the objective to curb migration from Libya, the EU has actively supported the so-called Libyan Coast Guard whose role in the torture and ransom of refugees in the detention centres is well-documented, while civilian search and rescue missions have been criminalised and curtailed by Member States such as Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Malta and most recently Germany. Today nearly one out of two refugees that try to arrive in Italy dies in the Mediterranean."

Abraham stresses: “The answer to wars, displacement and the horrors of Libya cannot be raising the walls of Fortress Europe. Instead of becoming implicated in the torture and ransom of migrants in Libya, European governments need to find ways to reform their asylum system in the spirit of solidarity among their Member States and with the people trapped in Libya. We do not accept that lives, human rights and democratic values are traded for the lowest common political denominator. To make our voice heard, we decided to come to Brussels. Europe and the international community must act now.

They are calling for:

  • the immediate evacuation of people in detention camps in Libya as well as the decriminalisation of search and rescue missions in the Mediterranean;
  • European governments and the international community to respond to the dramatically worsened situation of people trapped in Libya’s migration detention centres due to resurgent conflict during the past weeks;
  • immediate and non-discriminatory evacuation of people trapped in Libya’s migrant detention centres;
  • the UNHCR to take full responsibility for all people evacuated;
  • the establishment of a humanitarian corridor for migrants and refugees from Libya;
  • the launch of a joint European search and rescue mission in the Mediterranean;
  • the relaunch of the cooperation with, and de-criminalisation of, civilian search and rescue missions;
  • investigation into international crimes – potentially amounting to crimes against humanity – committed against migrants in Libya.