- Europe 'Arrogant' in Sending Refugees to Poor Countries, Should Do More - MSF Coordinator
Europe 'Arrogant' In Sending Refugees To Poor Countries, Should Do More - MSF Coordinator
Sumaira FH 4 months ago Mon 20th May 2019 | 08:30 PM
Europe is "arrogant" in its sending refugees to poor countries instead of doing more to help them, Tankred Stoebe, the medical emergency coordinator of Doctors Without Borders (MSF) charity in Berlin, told Sputnik
"By Europe sealing up its borders, we delegate the refugee issue to very poor countries, be it Uganda, be it Bangladesh. Eighty-five percent of refugees today are taken up by poor countries. This is quite an arrogant thing from Europe; it's a global issue and I think there is a certain responsibility specifically of those countries who have the means to help, to do more," Stoebe said.
The European Union has been offering financial support to Libya, in particular, as it often serves as a transit country for migrants hoping to cross the Mediterranean Sea to Europe. The European Union has been supporting the Libyan Coast Guard to enable it to intercept migrants at sea.
"In those prisons, or camps where they are kept they don't have space, sometimes less than one square meter [10 square feet] per person, they don't have enough food, no access to healthcare ... They don't have means to get out or to even call home for help. They are stuck, they are not allowed out and they are treated in a very bad way. People told me they don't want to go to Europe, because that's what many people fear in Europe that Africans come via Libya to Europe. They go not because they want to go, but because that's the only chance to get out of Libya, because they don't have passports.
For them to get back home is even more difficult than to go to Europe," Stoebe said.
The medical emergency coordinator explained that there were two types of refugee camps in Libya the ones managed by the government, with difficult conditions but at least accessible to charities, and the illegal ones run by smuggler groups.
"In those places, we know that people are tortured, women get raped on a regular basis. So the situation is very bad," Stoebe said.
Stoebe criticized the EU over its support for sending migrants back to Libya, where they were facing extremely harsh conditions.
"We should be much more aware about this situation in Libya because what happens now is Europe saying 'we don't want any' refugees anymore and we send them back supporting the Libyan Coast Guard who always bring them back into those prison conditions they are trying to escape from. This is not a solution," Stoebe said.
The medical emergency coordinator added that the recent escalation of the internal conflict in Libya contributed to the suffering of migrants and refugees. In April, the Libyan National Army (LNA) launched an offensive to retake Tripoli, which is controlled by the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA). The GNA initiated a counteroffensive dubbed Volcano of Rage. According to the World Health Organization, the battle for Tripoli has already left over 450 people killed and more than 2,100 injured.