A new translocal network called “Alliance with Refugees in Libya” (ARiL) was built already in August 2023 – following mobilization at the end of June in Brussels (see Echoes No. 7, page 18) in a meeting in Bologna. Bologna was not chosen by accident. Refugees in Libya (RiL) had decided before to create a registered association and an office in this city. “Translocal” means that, on one hand a group of local activists and supporters was formed, while on the other hand transnational relationships remain essential for the network: with activists in other European cities, but first of all with active refugees and migrants still living in Libya.
With the aim to consolidate and to strengthen the movement of RiL in Libya and in Europe, several concrete projects and working groups have been established:
- for the opening of the mentioned office in Bologna;
- for setting up an archive;
- for the creation of a collective hotline for requests from Libya;
- for the start of a Human Rights Defender-Campaign.
These projects are interconnected and carried out by grassroot-activists from sea rescue organizations and from struggles for freedom of movement to expand concrete support for people seeking protection in Libya and to consolidate collective work in the fight for freedom of movement in Europe.
On the hotline
Since 2021 more than 8.000 requests have reached out to the already existing hotline of Refugees in Libya. Since, RiL is in contact with the people behind the requests, trying to provide what is within their reach, collecting information, amplifying the different voices and pursuing legal processes. It is not only a hotline, but a network, an exchange point of a shared struggle. From December 2023 on, the Alliance with Refugees in Libya plans to extend this network with infrastructure and peoplepower. This collective hotline should run seven days a week, trying to answer requests, to collect valuable information and to amplify the voices of Refugees in Libya.
On the Campaign
The Human Rights Defender Campaign, starting from the beginning of 2024, aims to achieve the evacuation of human rights activists and people seeking protection from Libya to safe countries. The idea was presented already in an online event on 1 October 2023, the 2nd anniversary of the historical self organized sit-in protest in Tripoli.
The campaign will firstly refer to the 220 RiL activists, who have been imprisoned in Ain-Zara Camp for more than 18 months. After their hard-won release in July 2023 the coherent demand for evacuation came up again. The narrative of the campaign should emphasize on the collective activity of human rights defenders in Libya.
Think global, act local. With the office in Bologna a local implementation of the realities of Refugees in Libya should start on European ground. Together with the translocal network several events, training and regular meetings will be organized for the hotline and the campaign in near future. Support is needed on various levels!
Picture: Refugeews in Libya