Amnesty International: Niger deported Sudanese nationals back to Libya

African migrants are transferred to a detention centre after being detained in Zawiya, northern Libya June 1, 2014.  REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah

Over 100 Sudanese nationals arrested in Niger are at risk of serious abuses including unlawful detention in harsh conditions, torture and other forms of ill-treatment, often for the purpose of extortion, after they were deported back to Libya last week, said Amnesty International.

The group of around 145 people – including women and children – had fled Libya because of the brutal conditions they endured there, and had been living in a displacement camp in the Nigerien city of Agadez where they hoped to claim asylum.

On 2 May authorities in Niger rounded them up, packed them onto trucks and drove back towards the Libya border. Authorities confirmed the deportation, saying it had been carried out because the groups were not ‘’refugees but possible members of armed groups’’ in Libya, and therefore threatened the security of the country.

“By forcibly sending back these people to Libya, authorities in Niger are violating the very principle of asylum and refugee protection,” said Gaetan Mootoo, Amnesty International West Africa researcher.

“Libya is simply not a safe country. Our research has shown how migrants and refugees are subject to torture, detention and extortion there. The authorities must allow these people back to Niger in line with its obligations under the Refugee Convention and work with the UN refugee agency to find a safe alternative for them.”

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