Design a site like this with
Get started

Protest in solidarity with Refugees in Libya

MADDIE WAKELING and CRISSIE AMISS report on gathering outside the UNHCR’s office in London last week

ON TUESDAY, January 10, a lively group of people gathered outside the London offices of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) as part of a Europe-wide action called by Refugees in Libya.

Protestors gathered simultaneously outside UNHCR in Berlin, Brussels, Rome and Tripoli to commemorate one year since the brutal dispersal of people of a protest camp in front of the Tripoli Offices.

During this dispersal, 600 people – including children and pregnant women – were arrested and detained in Ain Zara Detention Camp, where 250 still remain imprisoned one year on. 

The atrocities in Libyan detention centres are well documented; they are sites of rape, torture and abuse and they are funded by the EU.

When people try to flee the country by boat, many are pushed back or intercepted by the so-called Libyan Coastguard, who work in collaboration with Frontex, the European Border and Coastguard Agency, and the Italian authorities. 

Refugees in Libya describe how they “started this movement under the name ‘Refugees in Libya’ because we believe that whoever leaves home is a refugee, regardless of the reasons.”

Episode 39: A hostile environment for refugees The Civil Fleet Podcast

In today's episode we speak with filmmaker Sonita Gale, about her award-winning documentary film Hostile.    Sonita tells us how Britain's "hostile environment" stretches much further back than 2012, when then home secretary Theresa May coined the term, and is rooted in the British Empire.    We hear how successive governments — both Labour and Conservative — have created an inhumane system for migrants and refugees in the UK and how this has affected the people in her film.    She also tells us how these dehumanising policies lead to the Windrush Scandal, and how they link with the NHS crisis, workers' rights, poverty, and the government's anti-protest laws.     —Get in touch— Twitter: @FleetCivil Mastodon:   Support:   —Show Notes—   For more on Sonita Gale's documentary, see here:   If you're in the UK, you can watch the film online here:   If you're outside the UK, then check here for more information on how to watch it:    See the trailer for Hostile here:    You can follow Hostile on Twitter here: @hostiledoc   And follow Hostile on Instagram here:   For anyone outside the UK that doesn't know what the Home Office is, it is similar to the Ministry of the Interior in much of Europe, or the Department for Homeland Security in the US.    The head of the UK Home Office (called the Home Secretary) is Suella Braverman. Before her, it was Priti Patel. Both are mentioned in the podcast.    Liz Truss, Boris Johnson, Theresa May and David Cameron were all former Conservative Prime Ministers. Members of the Conservative party are often referred to as Tories, and the party as The Tory Party.    Theresa May was the Home Secretary in 2012. She coined the term Hostile Environment in 2012. You can read more about that, and the 10-year anniversary of it, here:     Ben and Sonita mention Enoch Powell and his Rivers of Blood speech. You can read more about him and his infamous speech here:   Here's a good explanation of the Police, Crime and Sentencing Bill and why it is so dangerous by the human rights organisation Liberty:     For more on the No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF) policy, see the NRPF Network, here:   Here is a good explanation of the Windrush Scandal by the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants:    The Noam Chomsky quote at the end of the film is this: "As long as the general population is passive, apathetic, diverted to consumerism or hatred of the vulnerable, then the powerful can do as they please, and those who survive will be left to contemplate the outcome.”   The Chomsky quote that Ben (mis)quotes (again!) is this: “If you assume that there’s no hope, you guarantee there will be no hope. If you assume that there is an instinct for freedom, there are opportunities to change things.”
  1. Episode 39: A hostile environment for refugees
  2. Episode 38: ‘The Illegal Migration Bill is truly horrific’
  3. Episode 37: Free The El Hiblu 3 – Teenagers accused of terrorism for translating
  4. Episode 36: Defending the Iuventa 4 refugee rescuers
  5. Episode 35: Sentenced to 142-years for doing ‘what any human would do’

The London protest amplified their demands including evacuation to lands of safety, an end to the EU funding of Libyan coastguards which “forcibly intercepted refugees fleeing the Libyan hell,” the closure of all detention centres across Libya and justice for those who were shot and killed “both in and out of detention centres.”

An audio message from a Sudanese woman from Refugees in Libya described how it took four years for her to be evacuated to a place of safety.

Women from the All African Women’s Group, who have suffered detention and border violence, described the experience they share with people in Libya of fleeing “civil wars, persecutions, climate changes, and poverty back in our countries of origin” and being denied protection and safety.

Two staff members from UNHCR’s “protection” team came out to speak to protestors, but had nothing to say to answer the charge that the UNHCR, with its global budget of billions of dollars, had turned away people, including mothers with children, without even providing food and water.

Maddie Wakeling is an Alarm Phone activist. Crissie Amiss is an activist with Global Women Against Deportations.

[Pic: Audio Visual Collective, Crossroads Women’s Centre]


Published by The Civil Fleet

A news blog and podcast focused on the activist-led refugee rescue and support missions across Fortress Europe

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: