African and European civil society activists at a seminar in Geneva on Thursday, 7 December, discussed a report on the appalling situation of African refugees and migrants currently stranded and stressed the urgency of addressing the root causes that forced people out of their home countries. The seminar also strongly advised diaspora African civil societies to closely work with sister agencies in the continent.
Panelists included Mr. David Koros, director of the African Centre Against Torture (ACAT), who presented the report; Dr. Daniel Rezene of the Eritrean Law Society, who talked on the role of African regional human rights mechanism in the protection of abuses against refugees and migrants, and Mr. Bert Verstappen, senior documentalist. Organized by ACAT, the seminar was attended by members of African and European non-state actors as well as UN and EU representatives. The EPDP was represented by head of its foreign relations office.
The ACAT report indicated that up to 84% of the refugees/migrants in Libya, 80% of them young men, suffered extreme forms of torture in the hands of armed militias, human traffickers and other abusers. It also noted that the situation observed in 34 overcrowded detention centres was bad beyond imagination. The European Union so far spent over two billion Euros with the aim of keeping away the flow to refugees/migrants to Europe.
When the organizers made repeated calls for ideas on what can be done to address the problem of migrants and refugees from Africa, Eritreans in the audience agreed that the best solution is to concentrate efforts on ending bad governance in the continent and stop supporting corrupt and repressive regimes in Africa, starting with the worst of them - Eritrea.
It was reported that the European Union has so far spent over two billion Euros to curb refugee flow from Africa. It is also to be recalled that the African and EU summit in Abidjan on 29-30 November 2017 agreed to make efforts to repatriate the near-million people stranded in Libya within six weeks. So far, nothing has been mentioned about the Eritrean refugees who may finally end up as people without a government that cares for and about them.