By Ajnadin Mustafa.
Tripoli 25 May 2016:
The Red Crescent office in Zawia, west of Tripoli, says that it is freezing all activities . . .[restrict]relating to illegal migrants with immediate effect. The work includes recovering the bodies of the drowned that washed ashore, and medicating and feeding those who survived.
It says that it has no support or supplies for the work. This includes body bags, sufficient vehicles (including a refrigerated vehicle to transport bodies) or even gloves and protective clothing.
Zawia has seen an increase in migrant smuggling operations, allegedly by local militias looking to replace lost income from the former GNC regime in Tripoli.
Ironically, the announcement comes on the same day the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) completed a two-day workshop in Tunis for Libyan organisations on saving lives of migrants at sea.
It was the third such workshop and included dealing with much that a group such as Zawia Red Crescent has been involved in, including disembarkation of migrants from smuggling vessels and respect for the human rights of migrants and refugees. Indeed, participants included representatives from the Libyan Red Crescent as well as from the Libyan ministries of defence, health, interior and justice as well as the Border Directorate and the Department for Combating Illegal Migration. Experts from the Italian Coastguard, EUNAVFOR MED, the Italian Embassy, and World Health Organisation also participated.
The decision also comes after the Italian navy said that it had rescued some 5,000 illegal migrants off the coast of Libya over the past two days. [/restrict]