Statement of Concern

It is with great interest that we, in the Eritrean Refugee Support Association – UK (ERSA-UK), are following the current developments in the Middle East and North Africa, Libya in particular.

We are very concerned by the violence used against civilians which is risking the lives of many Libyans and refugees living in the country.

This is a critical moment for Eritrean refugees living especially in Libya and Egypt. Long before the current unrests, Eritreans have become victims of many abuses including human trafficking, rape and murder. The lack of law, peace and order following the current unrest has compounded their plight and many are caught between government and rebel forces and uncontrolled armed groups.

While citizens of many countries, particularly those in the West, Middle East and Asia have been evacuated, many African nationals, including Eritreans have not been lucky enough to get help from their own governments. The help offered by some governments and international organisations did not reach many, especially those in Tripoli and Benghazi. Many are still in hiding for fear of being suspected as mercenary soldiers. There are credible reports that many have been tortured and some killed at the hands of armed groups.

While there are immediate needs concerning their survival and health, their long-term repatriation to safer places should also be considered.

The problem they face is very grave and requires quick and immediate response of the same magnitude. The Eritrean Refugee Support Association in the UK (ERSA-UK) calls on national governments, international and national organisations and concerned individuals to pay special attention to the plight of Eritreans and other African nationals, especially those in Egypt and Libya.

ERSA-UK expresses its appreciation and support to Eritrean individuals, groups, civic societies/organisations and many other international humanitarian organisations, UN agencies and governments who are actively working to save the lives of Eritreans at this critical time and encourages them to continue doing so.


London, March 25, 2011 

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