Since 2 October, several thousand refugees have been protesting in front of the UNHCR in Tripoli. They were deprived of their housing and their belongings. A paramilitary raid on behalf of the Home Office had devastated their quarters in Gargaresh. Thousands had been arrested but were able to break out. For almost a month and a half, they have been calling for their evacuation. They have no other way out.

Militias, institutions of the Libyan government (GNA), the UN and the EU are responding to the tense situation in Tripoli with „hybrid atacks“ on the refugees in front of the UNHCR and throughout Libya.

On 12 November, the day of a big international conference on Libya in Paris, the Italian newspaper „Il Fatto Quotidiano“ published a reportage about a horror message about fotos of refugees detained in Libya: The fotos are made in a police style. Pierfrancesco Curzi writes in FQ: „each of them has placed a tag with the respective number in their hands. A cross between a police recognition and the sale of human beings to the market. The gazes of the migrants are terrified, dismissed, begging for help, tired and almost resigned. Some faces present obvious swellings from beatings, wounds, puffy eyes. Their captors placed them with their backs to a neutral white background, instructed them to look towards the camera and above all to keep the identification number clearly in their hand or placed on the neck of the t-shirts and shirts. […] The series of photographs posted [and published by FQ] was taken from the profile among the atria Sudanese around the world, one of the many international domains for receiving and disseminating news of fellow countrymen as there are many in the world. It has 720,000 followers and received more than a thousand comments on the post dedicated to arrested and photographed migrants. In the description of the post, the domain manager writes: ‘Among them there are people arrested and their parents have not heard from for years. We ask anyone who recognizes one of them to notify the families‘. ‚Exactly the result that the jailers hoped to obtain – confirms [the refugee] Aboubacar -, to turn those images and arrive at the probable source of the ransom. Share the photos to broaden the spectrum of analysis and reach all African countries. The strength of the network, in the case of which we speak mass in support of crime, but basically the only possible way to free migrants from prison and save them from certain death‘.“ The police style of the horrorific presentation seems not casual: The militias that run the camps are close to the government.

In recent days, UNHCR has staged violent incidents on the edge of its building. The UNHCR is trying to deepen and exploit the division between sub-Saharan and Arab refugees. It is said that there is a secret door at the UNHCR building only for applicant Arab refugees. In this context of rumors, the UNHCR Tripoli tweets fake news: The protesting refugees are – for the UNHCR – troublemakers who hinder the charitable work of the refugee relief organization. The opposite is true. Since the beginning of the permanent sit-in, the protesters have been calling on the UNHCR in vain to care for the refugees and organise their protection.

Then the UNHCR Tripoli spreads that there are people smugglers in the protest camp and thus joins the general criminalization strategy by the IOM and the EU states. NGOs were asked by the UNHCR to take on certain regulatory functions vis-à-vis the protesters. Instead, it is to be hoped that the evacuation perspective will be taken up in practice.

On the sidelines of the international Libya conference, inhuman plans for EU refugee camps outside Europe are being revived. Amazingly, Ukraine, Cyprus and Niger – even with its entire head of state – are taking part in the international Libya conference. There is a proposal circulating that the refugees in the death zone between Poland and Belarus should be deported to an EU camp in Ukraine.

This makes it all the more important to tackle evacuation from below.

Tripoli – EU: „Hybrid attacks“ against refugees