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Niger deports Sudanese to Libya, says Amnesty International

Smugglers in Libya are auctioning migrants off as slaves (a screenshot of CNN footage aired on 14 November 2017
May 11, 2018 (KHARTOUM) - Amnesty International denounced the deportation of Sudanese nationals from Niger to Libya, pointing they are at risk of serious abuse in the troubled north African country.

According to the rights group a group of 145 people including women and children who had fled Libya to Niger fearing extortion and torture sought refuge at a displacement camp in the Nigerien city of Agadez where they hoped to claim asylum.

However on 2 May, they were expelled from the West African country under the pretext they were not ‘’refugees but possible members of armed groups’’ in Libya, and therefore threatened the security of the country, said Amnesty.

A Sudanese who managed to escape the detention told Amnesty that they spent four nights in prison and on 10 May they took them back to Libya. He further said he had received a call from one of the deported telling them they are at the border between Libya and Niger.

“By forcibly sending back these people to Libya, authorities in Niger are violating the very principle of asylum and refugee protection,” said Gaetan Mootoo, Amnesty International West Africa researcher.

"The authorities must allow these people back to Niger in line with its obligations under the Refugee Convention and work with the UN refugee agency to find a safe alternative for them,” Mootoo further said.

Nigerien authorities admitted the expulsion of the Sudanese group saying that “these people did not respect the law and rules of the country” and that “they were threatening the security of the country.”

Sudanese national, many of them are from Darfur region, move to Libya seeking to travel to cross the sea to Europe. Many are detained and beaten in detention centre managed by smugglers asking them to buy more money.

Last March, a video released on the social media by the family of a Sudanese migrant showing him begging them to send money to the Libyan gang detaining him while another slapping him with a whip.

(ST)