Driven mad: inside a Libyan detention centre for female migrants

Published on Middle East, May 9, 2015: Women held in poor conditions for long periods after failed Mediterranean crossings want to go home, but funds are lacking.

TRIPOLI – Two women gaze out through the broken grill covering one of the windows of the Sorman Detention Centre for illegal immigrants. They are among seven long-term detainees who arrived in Libya in search of a better life but instead found themselves incarcerated in a dank prison which eventually drove them mad.

“This is Aiy Girma. She is Ethiopian and psychologically ill,” said Mohamed, a detention centre guard, speaking through a green paper mask worn by staff when they enter the centre to protect against diseases they claim many of the women carry … //

… There is no funding: … //

… Like a highway to Europe:

As the peak season for migrants braving the dangerous Mediterranean crossing in fishing vessels was now underway, the Sorman Detention Centre was expecting more new arrivals. Already over-capacity, Mahjoubi said more women arriving would further stretch the already limited resources. “With six neighbouring countries, Libya has become like a highway for Sub-Saharan Africans to get to Europe,” he said. “The main focus should be on educating these women on the risks of going to sea and trying to reduce attempts to take these boats.”

The international community should also invest in local initiatives in the vulnerable sub-Saharan countries, he said, to give local people more incentive to stay in their home countries. “There is a woman here with three kids and they had nothing in Ethiopia and she said it was a case of survive or die,” he said. With many embassies in Tripoli closed since the outbreak of civil war in the capital last August, he said deportation had become increasingly challenging and the family had been there for over a year.

Not all of the women in the centre had planned to attempt the crossing to Europe from Libya. Many had crossed illegally into Libya to find menial work and send money back to their families.

“I never planned to get the boat,” said Sandra, from Nigeria, standing in one of the lighter rooms, tiled and lined with single beds. “I was working in Tripoli for over a year when they caught me. They came to my house and arrested me, although I had done nothing wrong.” She admitted, however, that she was working in Libya illegally.

“This place is no good, we have no free movement and they treat the women here like goats,” she said. “They have no respect for women and we don’t always have privacy when we are naked.”

Sarah complained that the daily rations of food and seven-litre bottles of water to be shared between four or five people were also insufficient for their needs.

We want to go home: … //

… (full text).


Pakistan betters sanitation faster than India, on The Asian Age, May 10, 2015;

Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant, a ticking time bomb? on Stephen Lendman’s Blog, May 10, 2015;

The wretched of the sea: An Algerian perspective, on ZNet (first on Middle East, by Hamza Hamouchene, May 10, 2015;

A Life That Mattered – A Tribute to Michael Blake, on Dissident Voice, by Walter Brasch, May 9, 2015: Michael Blake died last week … Michael Blake fused history and social issues, writing about social justice. Writing books that mattered. Writing screenplays that were never produced and then discarded …;
[see also: Michael Blake on en.wikipedia (author, screenwriter - July 5, 1945 – May 2, 2015) was an American author, best known for the film adaptation of his novel Dances with Wolves;
his official website];

Let It Bleed – Farewell to the United Kingdom, on Counterpunch, by TARIQ ALI, May 8, 2015;

Capitalizing on sorrow? – We are between hell and the deep blue sea, on Pambazuka News, by PD Lawton, May 6, 2015: The public outcry against the mass drownings of desperate people at the hands of slave traders demands a solution. But the solution offered by Empire does not include eradication of poverty or resolution of wars. It is military intervention;

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Arena/ Spinnen die Schweizer? 75.04 min, von Norbert Müller am 15. März 2014 hochgeladen: NUR DIE EINLEITUNG IST AUF SCHWEIZERDEUTSCH.

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