From Tripoli to Bruxelles: Call for a demonstration in Brussels on 1st of July 2023

Brussels is at the centre of European decision-making, with the headquarters of EU-Council, the EU-Commission and its parliament. It is also the heart of EU border politics and the site of UNHCR, IOM and Frontex offices, which are involved in migration and refugee “management”. Here, in this capital, we can find the main actors who are responsible for the endless suffering and death at the borders of Europe.  

We are calling for a mobilization in Brussels at the same week as EU leaders meet for their EU-council-summit on 29th and 30th of June, in order to confront these institutions and agencies with the voices and demands of refugees who have survived or are still experiencing their inhuman border policy.

Today thousands of people are stranded, exploited, imprisoned, and killed in Libya. European money has outsourced its control of its borders, with ongoing complicity of militias and with the UNHCR passively watching. Similar refugee rights violations happen in other North African countries, particularly in Tunisia, where people with a sub-Saharan background have been confronted, since February 2023, with a wave of racist intimidation, attacks, and repression.

With our demonstration on Saturday, 1st of July in Brussels, we will bring the protest and demands to the UNHCR, the IOM and Frontex and to the European Parliament.  

Refugees in Libya is a self-organized protest movement which was formed in response to the violent crackdown and arrests of 5000 refugees and migrants living in the Gargaresh neighbourhood of Tripoli on 1 October 2021.

Afterwards, thousands of refugees started a sit-in for more than 100 days in front of the UNHCR office in Tripoli: an historical act of self-organisation under the harshest conditions.  

Solidarity with Refugees in Libya is an alliance of mainly Europe-based individuals and groups, working closely with Refugees in Libya to support and strengthen their demands in Europe and beyond. As the UNFAIR campaign, we have organised 2 days of protest in Geneva in December 2022, where we held a press conference in front of the head office of UNHCR and marched through Geneva in protest of UNHCR’s UNFAIR treatment of refugees in Libya.

    The main demands for the Brussels protests are: 

  • Evacuation of Refugees from Libya and Tunisia to safe countries;
  • Freedom and evacuation of the 250 refugees, who are still imprisoned in Ain Zara detention camp in Libya since the mass protests in 2021;
  • Fair treatment by UNHCR for all refugees in Libya and other North African countries;
  • Put an end to the financing of the so-called Libyan Coast Guard and detention camps by the EU and European countries;
  • Justice for those who have been murdered, tortured or arbitrarily detained;
  • Libya should sign the 1951 Geneva Refugee Convention;
  • Recognition of „Refugees in Libya“ as an organisation to represent these demands and to have regular talks with UNHCR and other institutions.

The demonstration will start at 14:00 CEST in Brussels, probably close to the UNHCR office. A more detailed place and route will be published soon.  

More information

Article published in Echoes#6