Once Upon A Time In Libya

March 19, 2011, on the insistence of President Sarkozy, the UN Security Council, with Resolution 1973, approved the military mission of support to the militias Libyan rebels who were fighting the troops of Gaddafi, prodromal to actual military intervention . The US avvallarono it because Libya had long been considered a “rogue state” and would lose substantial military contracts with Russia (about five billion dollars). Italy did the same old fool accodandosi others and questioning all contracts that ENI had signed with Gaddafi. Migration from Libya are the result of these nefarious decisions which Gaddafi could, despite everything, to hold off. Not only. Before the attack were financed fringe jihadist Libyan with the intention of undermining the stability inside Libya. These people, financed by Europeans in the first place and then from America, are the smugglers who profit on the lives of migrants.

The scenario is repeated in Syria, but here the Exchequer has other protagonists. Syria has always been a valuable ally of Russia, just think that in Tartus hosts the only Russian naval base in the Mediterranean Sea, also the pipeline “Arab Gas Pipeline” topped by the Syrian gas contracts with Russia for a total of twenty billion dollars. America, wanting to weaken this advantage, had decided for years to fund jihadists, including the radical Islamic militias (Isis), with the aim of overthrowing the Assad regime; Russia he would not tolerate a direct military intervention in this area. The result was the total destabilization of the area which, combined with that of Iraq after the attack on the Twin Towers, has made the Middle East a real powder keg. The result of this policy it is seeing with the massive migrations that pass through the Balkans. Therefore no conspiracy or deception behind these migrations, but only the incompetence and approximation of Europe and America. It will, however, only the first to pay the bill and certainly not those who are across the ocean, with its senseless policy, is endangering all the fragile world.

One of the busiest routes to Europe is from the northern coast of Libya.

immigration routesBefore NATO began it’s bombing campaign against Libya killing over 50,000 civilians whilst funding militant Islamic groups in order to overthrow Muamar Gaddafi, Libya had the highest standard of living according to the U.N’s standard of living index. Libya , Africa’s richest country, had free health care and education. Now, Libya is widely referred to as a failed state.

The power vacuum left in both Libya and Iraq after western backed coup d’etats, have left massive power vacuums in which the very groups that the U.S government and it’s NATO allies have spent the last decade propagating a war against, were given the perfect environment to thrive.


The number of migrant arrivals has surged since late 2010 with the start of the Tunisian revolution that launched the Arab Spring. Libya, which underwent its own civil war in 2011, has become a transit point for migrants fleeing conflict, repression and poverty in countries such as Eritrea, Niger, Syria, Iraq and Somalia, with increased instability there and improving weather prompting more people to attempt the dangerous crossing.

Fighting in Libya has escalated to its worst levels since the 2011 conflict that ended with the overthrow and killing of longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi. Rebel groups that fought against him kept their weapons and militias mushroomed in number. The country now has rival governments – the internationally recognized one in the eastern city of Tobruk, and an Islamist-backed one in the capital, Tripoli. The two sides have been negotiating in Morocco to end the fighting.

In the final years of Moammar Gadhafi’s regime in Libya, the number of migrant boats departing from Libya slowed considerably. That’s because former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi struck a deal with Col. Gadhafi that saw Libyan security forces crack down on traffickers and prevent the migrant boats from setting sail for southern Italy. With post-revolution Libya in turmoil, successive Italian governments have had no ability to strike a new agreement to stop the boats. Now, lawlessness in Libya has made it almost impossible to police the criminal gangs who can charge thousands of dollars to bring mainly sub-Saharan Africans to Europe.

With Libya experiencing large-scale internal displacement as the country becomes increasingly engulfed in civil war, migrants, asylum seekers, and refugees are finding themselves systematically exposed to arbitrary and indefinite detention in conditions described as “abysmal” and “unacceptable” by UN and civil society observers (UNSC 2014, UNHCR 2014 and 2015, HRW 2014, AI 2013). People from Sub-Saharan countries are most at risk of detention and ill treatment as anti-black racism, endemic in Libya, has been exacerbated by the crisis (Seymour 2011, AI 2012, Aljazeera 2014).

Previously, Italy’s and the European Union’s arrangements with Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, including multi-million-Euro “migration management” projects, led to mass expulsions and an increase in detention (EC 2013, DPA 2008, Tripoli Post 2008, DRC 2014). Observers argued that these EU externalisation efforts helped spur the creation of “one of the most damaging detention systems in the world” (van Aelst 2011).

However, EU countries have continued to negotiate deals providing tens of millions of Euros to Libya to process asylum seekers and irregular migrants expelled from or intercepted en route to Europe (HRW 2009, HRW2014, AI 2013, CEC 2014, Malmström 2014). The deepening chaos in the country—coupled with the ongoing conflicts in the Middle East—has generated a surge in irregular migration from Libya across the Mediterranean. The Libyan coast has become a gateway for mixed migratory flows from Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan, and Syria.

Human rights groups and international organizations have long criticised the country for its deplorable detention conditions, widespread corruption, flourishing migrant smuggling rings, and more recently the failure to take control of detention centres run by militias. Conditions have worsened as a result of fighting across the country and the breakdown in public services.

Among the top ten countries in the world for oil reserves, Libya began attracting migrants from neighbouring Arab countries in the 1960s. By 2009, there were around two million Egyptians in Libya, most of whom worked irregularly. In the late 1990s, Muammar Gaddafi’s Pan Africanism drew a growing influx of Sub-Saharan migrants. A policy volte-face in 2007 led to the imposition of visas on both Arabs and Africans (the distinction between the two not always being clear), turning thousands of immigrants into “irregulars” (Fargues 2013, Di Bartolomeo/Jaulin/Perrin 2011). During the 2011 uprising in Libya, close to 800,000 migrants fled, mainly to Tunisia and Egypt (IOM 2012).

In September 2014, the UN Secretary-General informed the Security Council that “The lack of an adequate asylum system and a proper protection framework in Libya, coupled with the widespread use of detention in deplorable conditions, are factors pushing mixed migration movements underground and fuelling the smuggling market towards Europe” (UNSC 2014). Some 130,000 persons are reported to have arrived in Italy from Libya by boat during January-October 2014, representing nearly 85 percent of all arrivals in the country (UNHCR 2014).

Detention Policy

Libya’s legal situation is in turmoil, a result of both the ongoing conflict and the legacy of the Qaddafi era. A new Constitutional Drafting Assembly was formed in early 2014 to replace the 2011 transitional Constitutional Declaration amidst a volatile political and security context. The Libyan government fled Tripoli in the summer of 2014 to escape an Islamist led militia (Stephen 2014). In November 2014, Libya’s Tripoli-based Supreme Court declared the Parliament unconstitutional.

In 2014, the European Commission reported that Libya’s “legal and regulatory framework on migration appears poor, fragmented and not harmonised” and that irregular migrants, refugees and asylum seekers are “all considered to be ‘illegal migrants’ and subject to fines, retention, and expulsion” (EC 2014).

Ten years earlier, in 2004, the Commission reported that it was unable to acquire information from Libyan authorities on procedures and criteria for the detention of non-citizens, observing that detainees were arrested at random and issued deportation orders based on decisions made for groups of nationalities, rather than individual cases (European Commission 2004).

Key norms. Provisions for the deprivation of liberty of non-citizens for immigration-related violations are contained in two laws: Law No. 6 (1987) Regulating Entry, Residence and Exit of Foreign Nationals to/from Libya as amended by Law No. 2 (2004) and Law No. 19 of 2010 on Combating Irregular Migration. Under both laws, violations of migration provisions are criminalized and sanctioned with fines and imprisonment (see below). According to an unofficial translation of Law No. 19, Article 6 provides that “The illegal migrant will be put in jail and condemned to forced labour in jail or a fine of 1,000 Libyan dollars. … The person must be expelled from Libyan territory once he finishes his time in prison.”

However, the Global Detention Project has not been able to identify legal provisions unambiguously providing for administrative forms of immigration detention. It appears that detention for immigration reasons that is not part of a criminal process occurs in a legal vacuum and could be considered “arbitrary” (DRC 2013). According to the European Commission, immigration detention generally occurs without a judicial order (EC 2013).

Law No. 6 (1987) Regulating Entry, Residence and Exit of Foreign Nationals to/from Libya as amended by Law No. 2 (2004) provides visa and travel document requirements for all non-citizens entering Libya. As of 2004, all nationals from Arab states—as well as from the Sudan, Ethiopia, and Eritrea—were allowed to enter Libya without a visa, excluding Iraqis and Palestinians. All other non-citizens had to obtain a valid visa through the General Directorate of Passports and Nationality, as specified in Law No. 4/1985 (European Commission 2004, p. 11).

However, under Article 11 of Law No 19 of 2010 on Combating Irregular Migration, all foreigners residing in Libya had to legalize their stay in Libya within a period of two months after entry into force of the law; otherwise they were to be considered as illegal migrants and were to be subject to penalties (Art. 6). Law No. 10 of 2013 concerning the Criminalization of Torture, Forced Abduction, and Discrimination protects detainees from physical and mental torture (Article 2) and from restriction on personal liberty by force, threat, or treachery (Art. 1).

The Code on Criminal Procedure prohibits arbitrary arrest and detention (see below under “Procedural standards”).

Grounds for deportation and detention. Article 17 of Law No. 6 (1987) establishes grounds for the deportation of non-citizens who have entered the country without a valid visa; overstayed their residence permit; had their visa revoked; and/or been sentenced to expulsion by a court.

Under Article 19 of Law No. 6 (1987) immigration-related infractions that carry penalties, such as fines and/or imprisonment, include: providing false information or documents; entering the country or residing in it illegally; violating the conditions/regulations of a visa and/or overstaying residence visa; and remaining in the country after having been ordered to leave.

Criminalization. Libyan law criminalises unauthorised migration and does not distinguish between migrants, refugees, victims of trafficking or others in need of international protection (AI 2012). Article 6 of Law No 19 of 2010 on Combating Irregular Migration provides that “illegal migrants” will be put in jail and condemned to forced labour in jail or a fine of 1000 Libyan dinars and be expelled from the Libyan territory after serving their sentence. Under Article 19 of Law No. 6 (1987) persons who violate immigration provisions will either be imprisoned or fined or both. Article 19 as amended by Law No. 2, increased the monetary fine to at least 2,000 dinars and introduced harsher penalties of up to 20 years imprisonment for crossing a border without travel documents, a crime aggravated if committed by an organised criminal network (HRW 2006a, Coluccello & Massey 2007, p.82).

Length of detention. According to observers, the 2010 Law on Combating Irregular Migration (Law No. 19) allows for the indefinite detention, followed by deportation, of those considered to be irregular migrants (AI 2012, AI 2013). While the provisions of this law do not state precisely that indefinite detention is allowed, it appears to be implied. As noted previously, Article 6 provides that unauthorized migrants are to “be put in jail” and then deported after they serve their sentences.

In 2013, non-governmental researchers on mixed migration flows interviewed more than 1,000 foreign nationals in the country who claimed to have been arrested as they were walking on the street. The majority had been detained between two weeks and three months and two had remained in detention for two years (DRC 2013). Previously, in 2008, former detainees reported that people were sometimes detained for years (Asinitas Onlus 2008).

Apprehending authorities, custodial authorities, and militias. According to Article 21 of Law No.6 (1987) Regulating Entry Residence and Exit of Foreign Nationals to/from Libya, “specified employees within the immigration authority are authorized to execute this law.” Article 17 establishes grounds for the deportation by the Director of Passports and Nationality. Until 2011 immigration policies were jointly managed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Interior (MOI), the Ministry of Justice, and the Ministry of Defence, with the MOI serving as the overall coordinator. The police carried out immigration controls, with support from the army, the air force, and the navy. Since 2007, the navy provided backup assistance to the Coastguard Department, which is responsible for Maritime border management and surveillance. The MOI’s departments of Anti-Infiltration and Illegal Immigration “investigated” and “processed” undocumented migrants (Frontex 2007, p.8-9).

In 2012 officials from the Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Interior acknowledged to Amnesty International “that they had little involvement in the arrest and detention of migrants and that the Ministry of Interior has oversight over detention centres for migrants, but said that since the conflict the Ministry had had no capacity or resources to continue doing so” (AI 2012). In 2014, however, Human Rights Watch was allowed to visit nine of the country’s 19 migrant detention centres allegedly run by the Ministry of Interior’s Department for Combating Illegal Immigration (DCIM), an agency established in 2012 to oversee places of immigration detention (HRW 2014).

Following the 2011 uprising and armed conflict, some detention centres have reportedly been managed by revolutionary brigades or militias, known as katibas. There are reportedly some 1,700 militias in Libya, split along regional lines (Chothia 2014)). International NGOs and EU institutions have urged the Libyan government to regain control of all detention facilities. But implementation is delayed due to the lack of a political settlement.

There was no electricity bill in Libya; electricity was free for all citizens.

2 – There was no interest on loans, banks in Libya were state-owned and loans given to all its citizens, according to law, the zero percent interest.
3 – Having a home is considered a human right in Libya.
4 – All nuoni newlyweds in Libya received 60,000 dinars (US $ 50,000) from the government to buy their first apartment so start helping the family.
5 – Education and health care Erani free in Libya. Before Gaddafi only 25 percent of Libyans were literate. Today, the figure is 83 percent.
6 – If a Libyan wanted to pursue a career agricultural, receive agricultural land, a country house, equipment, seeds and livestock to start your own business, all for free.
7 – If the Libyans were not able to find the medical system or school of which they needed (in Libya), there would be government funding to go abroad and not only would get monthly US $ 2300 / month for housing allowance and car.
8 – If a Libyan bought a car, the government subsidizes 50 percent of the price.
9 – The price of oil in Libya was $ 0.14 per liter.
10 – Libya had no external debt and its monetary reserves totaled $ 150 billion (now frozen).
11 – If a Libyan is unable to find employment after graduation the state pays the equivalent of the average salary for the profession. (This also applies to professions for which you do not need a degree)
12- A mother giving birth to a child receives US $ 5,000.
13 to 40 loaves of bread in Libya cost $ 0.15.
14 – 25 percent of Libyans graduated.
15 – Gaddafi made possible the largest project ever experienced in the world of irrigation, known as the Great Manmade River Project, in order to make more readily available water in the desert region.


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