UN criticizes Libya for deportation of potential Eritrean refugees
AP Worldstream; Sep 21, 2004 - The U.N. refugee agency
Tuesday criticized Libya for its deportation of Eritreans last month, calling
it a "severe violation" of African and international rules of
concerned over the ongoing forcible return of potential refugees from
Libya," said Ron Redmond, spokesman for the United Nations High
Commissioner for Refugees. "It also raises concerns over the intentions of
the Libyan government to ensure minimum standards of treatment for persons who
might be in need of international protection."
is not party to the 1951 U.N. Refugee Convention, it has signed the 1969
refugee accord of the former Organization of African Unity. The country has so
far adopted a generous open-door policy toward African and Arab refugees, UNCHR
said. There is no agreement for a formal UNHCR presence in Libya.
borders Eritrea, has now granted refugee status to 60 of the deportees who arrived
in Khartoum on a plane that was hijacked when it was returning them from Libya
to Eritrea last month, UNHCR said.
A Sudanese court
has sentenced the other 15 Eritreans on the Aug. 27 flight to five years in
jail each for carryingout the hijacking, followed by deportation.
UNHCR said it
conducted interviews with the 60 Eritreans after their arrival in Khartoum.
They told the refugee agency that they had been detained without charges for a
long time in Kufra, Libya, and had suffered physical abuse. They were denied
access to UNHCR and to any asylum procedure.
was never informed of the decision to deport them to Eritrea, were forced to
board a special charter flight, and only found out after their plane took off
that the destination was their country of origin," Redmond noted.
aware of the challenges face by the Libyan authorities in dealing with mixed
flows of irregular immigrants and asylum seekers, and is appreciative of the
government's efforts to address some of these issues," he added.
agency also called for unhindered access to people wanting to launch asylum
applications in Libya and an end to deportations of asylum seekers from the