Refugees in Libya and the supporting alliance held a two-day event on first steps towards a campaign for safe evacuation from Libya on January 26-27, 2024 in Bologna.


Picture: Alliance with Refugees in Libya – Assembly in Bologna in January 2024

The kick-off event in Bologna for the evacuation of the 221 Human Rights Defenders from Libya saw participation by many actors from various contexts, including the refugees and migrants movement Refugees in Libya and Alliance with Refugees in Libya; representatives from the Libyan and European civil society, sea rescue organizations, and From The Sea To The City; lawyers (ECCHR, ASGI); investigative journalists; the Mayor of Bologna Matteo Lepore; and award-winning director Matteo Garrone, who participated virtually. Together we discussed possibilities of evacuation by analyzing and finding common aspects among our projects and modeling new infrastructures for freedom of movement.

The testimonies of activists of Refugees in Libya who had survived the torture and inhumane conditions in Libya animated the conference, its workshops and public assemblies, which saw a constant presence and interaction of almost 100 people.

The presence of the founder of Belaady, the Libyan Foundation for Human Rights that supports people on the move, overturned the stereotypical imagery of a country only represented by the so-called Libyan Coast Guard, militias, or human traffickers. Similarly a documentary film denouncing the conditions of refugees in detention camps, shot by a Libyan activist collective, provided further proof of the other face of Libyan society.

In the evening session on the 26th, Activists of Refugees in Libya opened the Public Assembly and recounted their horrifying experiences in Libya and their struggles to defend their human rights. These first contributions were followed by a stimulating discussion with inputs and interventions from a wide spectrum of organizations and networks to answer the main question of how to evacuate the 221 Human Rights Defenders from Libya.

In a series of five workshops main topics and challenges were discussed in a great composition of participants, including: a new support hotline from Refugees in Libya, investigations and strategic litigation, and networking “from sea to the cities,” the concept of a mobile exhibition and with overview of struggles on the Mediterranean. New ideas were developed for a transnational process to develop concrete plans for evacuations and to continue to amplify the voices of refugees in Libya all over Europe.

Full report of the event in Bologna: