Libya: ‘A Country Where Christians Shouldn’t Come’

ICC Note: Libya is a destination where migrants from all over Africa seek employment, many hoping to escape the economic hardships on the continent for greener pastures in Europe. But, Libya is not a place that is friendly to Christians. Brothers and sisters face work discrimination, theft, rape, intimidation, and other horrific persecutions because of their faith, according to a recent Amnesty International Report.

5/15/15 Libya (World Watch Monitor) – Migrants and refugees in Libya are increasingly facing widespread abuse and persecution on religious grounds, a report by Amnesty International has revealed.

Foreign nationals travelling irregularly to and from Libya face abuses, including abductions for ransom, torture and in some cases rape and other forms of sexual violence, at all stages of the smuggling routes running from West and East Africa toward the Libyan coast, according to the report, ‘Libya is full of cruelty‘, published May 11.

Christian migrants and refugees from Nigeria, Eritrea, Ethiopia and Egypt are particularly targeted, the Amnesty report said. They are subjected to abductions, torture, theft and physical assaults by criminal gangs and people smugglers, in addition to abuses by armed groups such as the self-proclaimed Islamic State and Ansar al-Sharia.

A man whom Amnesty International identified as Charles, a 30-year-old Nigerian, recounted how he was abducted and physically assaulted a number of times by members of a criminal gang in the coastal city of Zuwara.

“In Zuwara, sometimes young men would come to our house to steal our money,” he is quoted in the report as saying. “They would come with guns. As a black man, I cannot go to complain to the police. I went to complain at the police station twice but they did not believe me.”

Charles relocated to Zuwara from Tripoli in July 2014 in search of safety from indiscriminate shelling and fighting between armed groups in residential areas of the capital. Instead, he said he experienced abuse and persecution.

“I am a Christian and that’s why the men would always come to our house and attack us. We were three Christian Nigerians living in the same house … Even in the streets, armed men would ask me if I am a Christian.”

Another Nigerian migrant who also fled Tripoli, but whom Amnesty International did not identify, spoke about the religiously motivated harassment and discrimination he faced in Zuwara.

“Libya is full of cruelty. It is not hospitable to foreigners, especially to black men. They see us as slaves,” the man is quoted in the report as saying.

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