Jesuit Refugee Service Malta is following with mounting concern reports of hundreds of deaths in Libya over the past couple of days. Witnesses quoted by international media report that pro-democracy protestors were confronted with gunfire. The unrest seems to be spreading from the second largest city Benghazi to the capital Tripoli. In the past decade, until the controversial Italo-Libyan Friendship and Cooperation Treaty of 2009, Libya had often been a transit country for sub-Saharan asylum seekers and migrants seeking to gain access to Europe.
Almost all asylum seekers arriving in Malta in an irregular manner as boat migrants in this period are believed to have departed from Libya. Many are believed to be still stranded there, without any real prospect of protection.
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- Report of the Human Rights Council Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review on Libya, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, November 2010.
- Do They Know? Asylum Seekers Testify to Life in Libya. Jesuit Refugee Service Malta, December 2009.