To continue the struggle of “Refugees in Libya”, two days of protest took place this weekend in Geneva. Directly in front of the headquarters of the UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, people took the floor who in the meantime were able to escape the “hell in Libya” and now live in Europe. On Friday, they spoke at an impressive media conference and met a delegation of the UNHCR. On Saturday, together with around 300 people who had traveled from different countries, they demonstrated in front of the UN headquarters and in downtown Geneva.
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One year ago, thousands of refugees protested in Libya in front of the main UNHCR building in Tripoli. The 100 days of protest back then were a historic act of self-organization under the harshest conditions. But instead of listening and improving, UNHCR criticized the protest and remained silent when it came to a brutal eviction and subsequent detention of those demanding their basic rights.
These days provided an opportunity to network and strengthen. Now the struggle continues in a decentralized manner. The demand to UNHCR and European states remains: Refugees in Libya need safety and therefore urgently need to be evacuated. Humanitarian corridors are needed – at sea and in the air.
Information to highlight the problems and demands can be found on the website unfairagency.org. What is needed is more pressure and more protests. UNHCR representations exist in every country. In Switzerland, by the way, the office is in Bern.