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'Do they know?' Testimonies by Migrants (vom 22.12.2009),
URL: http://no-racism.net/article/3200/, besucht am 15.08.2022

[22. Dec 2009]

'Do they know?' Testimonies by Migrants

JRS Malta release a new report on Libya: Do They Know? is a collection of testimonies from asylum seekers who were granted protection in Malta, highlighting their experiences of life there.


"Does the international community know about this, what is happening here? This is what we used to ask each other when we were in prison in Libya."
Asad, an asylum seeker in Malta

The testimonies reveal unthinkable hardship many migrants face in Libya, which is almost an obligatory transit country for people fleeing widespread violence and human rights violations in their countries.

Since May 2009, some 1409 migrants, attempting to reach a place where they could obtain protection or the possibility to live in safety and dignity, were pushed back to Libya. These actions were widely criticised and held by many to be a violation of international law, as Libya does not have the mechanisms in place to grant protection to those who need it and there is evidence that those returned would be at risk of harm.

"International Migrants Day is a good time to ask ourselves whether we are fully aware of the possible consequences of these actions for the people concerned. We believe that many who see this as a quick solution to the pressures that Malta is facing would think differently if they knew about the treatment that migrants face there," said JRS Malta Director, Fr Joseph Cassar SJ.

Do They Know? is a collection of testimonies from asylum seekers who were granted protection in Malta, highlighting their experiences of life there. Published by JRS Malta to coincide with International Migrants Day, which is marked today, the testimonies reveal unthinkable hardship many migrants face in Libya, which is almost an obligatory transit country for sub-Saharan Africans fleeing widespread violence and human rights violations in their countries of origin.

JRS Malta believes that returning migrants to Libya, where they cannot obtain effective protection if they need it and where they face a real risk of serious harm, violates international law. We therefore call upon the government to:


"While it is true that migrant boat people attempting the south-north crossing of the Mediterranean are not all necessarily fleeing persecution," Fr Cassar said, "this does not justify returning anyone to a country where her/his life might be seriously at risk. Malta has an obligation to ensure that the rights of all migrants within its effective jurisdiction are protected, regardless of their legal status." He also recalled that more than 50% of asylum seekers reaching Malta and Italy last year were granted some form of protection.

Source :: Statement by JRS, 18. Dec 2009 (pdf)