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From Tripoli to Rome

Imagine and build new safe passages

Summary of the Rome event | May 31st - June 1st, 2024


The two-day event in Rome has been a successful follow-up of the kickoff event of Bologna this January. 


With the presence of 7 out of 14 Human Rights Defenders evacuated from Libya to Italy on the 7th of May, Refugees in Libya managed to reunite the most relevant actors involved in the evacuation mechanisms created by the Sant'Egidio Community as well as institutions able to imagine and build new safe passages, and, last but not least, activists from all over Europe that through Alliance with Refugees in Libya amplify the voices of refugees, migrants, and asylum seekers.



The first day of the event was hosted by the Pontifical Gregorian University and introduced by Deputy Rector Di Luccio who defined our initiative as one of the decisive steps to pursue a welcoming culture. Afterward, it was the turn of David Yambio, spokesperson of Refugees in Libya, who welcomed individually the seven people who arrived in Italy with the last evacuation flight from Tripoli and reminded the importance of acknowledging the protesters as Human Rights Defenders not only for the sake of justice but also to set an example for all those still trapped in Libya. "We are here to celebrate our bravery because it is underestimated what we have done. It is not an act of the chosen ones but of people living under inhumane circumstances. It became bigger than we would have ever expected" added Naeima Hussein, second spokesperson, reminding the 100-day struggle in front of the UNHCR Libya. The last speech of the introductory part was held by Tiziano Schiena (Alliance with Refugees in Libya) who recounted the work done on the European shore of the Mediterranean encouraged by the resistance of the over 5000 people before and after the violent eviction operated by Libyan militias in front of the Tripoli offices.


The first Round Table "Humanitarian Corridors: from Evacuation to Reception" was moderated by Alice Basiglini (Alliance with Refugees in Libya) who recalled the necessity for all the actors involved in the humanitarian corridors to cooperate. Luca di Sciullo (Idos) presented his 2023 annual report which clearly shows the economic relevance of people on the move who brought to Italy more than 6,5 billion euros.

Similarly, Barbara Funari (Social Policy Counsellor of Roma Capitale), Gianluca Bogino (Municipality II), and Maria Romano (Municipality III) offered their help to facilitate bureaucratic procedures in the welcoming system promising to leave an open door for our future requests.

Finally, Valeria Guterrez (S. Egidio Community) recounted the creation of the evacuation mechanism started in Libanon with Syrian war refugees and described the particular difficulty of setting up the humanitarian corridors from Libya to Italy, due to the political and social chaos. Valentina Itri (Arci) and Giulia Gori (Federation of Evangelical Churches) shared their worries about the insufficient number of welcoming places. Lorenzo Leotardi (UNHCR Italy) defended the role of the UN Agency underlining its dependency on the will of each individual state. David Yambio asked to intervene: "Can we Refugees in Libya or people on the move be really recognized as a subject to be involved when it comes to participation and collaboration among institutions? Is it possible to be part of the tables that decide on our lives?"

The first Round Table ended with the interventions of Human Rights Defenders arrived with on May 7 with the evacuation flights. “In 2021 after the horrible experiences of Gargaresh, we kept demanding protection in front of the UNHCR, but they did not recognize us, they did not provide any assistance to us and after three months they closed turning their back on us” said Yousef adding “We thank all of those who amplified our voices”.


Livestream of Introduction and Round Table 1:


Edgardo Maria Iozia (Alliance with Refugees in Libya) moderated the second Round Table "Safe passages: Imagining new Access Routes" whose goal was to provide alternative ways of evacuation and future integration on the labor market and within institutions of higher learning.


At first, the representatives of the professional and industry associations Andrea Tondo Confartigianato, Valentina Fabbri Confcooperative, underlined the lack of labor force in their respective fields and how migration can be the decisive solution in this context.


The representative of trade unions Diana Agostinello (Cgil) offered his support to the initiative and reaffirmed the importance of defending the worker's rights.


Professors and researchers of the Universities Enrica RigoRoma 3, Jacopo Anderlini Parma, Paolo Iafrate Tor Vergata, Danilo Turco Gregorian Pontifical) proposed the extension of new study Visa agreements and tried to formulate new legal frameworks.


The Mobile Exhibition "Evacuate Human Rights Defenders from Libya!" - created by Sophia Igel, Janna Bleckmann and Marc Montany (Alliance with Refugees in Libya) - was installed the first day at the entrance of the University and welcomed guests, activists, students and visitors; and was present during the second day of the event in Spin Time Labs as well.



The first panel on May 1st, ‘Externalizations of borders and border screening: the consequences of the Migration Pact’ featured guests from different universities and associations: La Sapienza, L'Orientale di Napoli, as well as Sciabaca & Oruka project (ASGI). The basic regulations of the new European Migration Pact and their worrying implications were tackled - the new migration deals the EU has been closing with several Mediterranean states as well as the constant disregard towards human rights for non-European people have led to reactions from the part of the civil society. That is why David Yambio and his fellow activists suggested "The campaign for a new EU Pact: A Pact against discrimination and structural racism in Europe", a grass root international initiative already enjoying a lot of support in Italy and not only. The second workshop of the day “Activist communication and the partiality of social platforms" was dedicated to the dangers of social media platforms for political activists and especially people on the move. The limits of using non democratic web tools where a constantly changing algorithm can decide the visibility of a message need to be overcome with self created instruments. “The criminalization of migration and solidarity" was the title of the last workshop. The worrying war against people on the move and humanitarian activists lead to the discussion on future strategies on how to continue the campaign, raise awareness and create media material as a counter narrative to the increasingly strong Right wing movement in Europe - with video testimonies, reports, documentation work and documentaries to be shown around the EU.



Following the Saturday workshops there was a special session dedicated to the formal constitution of the association Refugees in Libya in Italy - almost one year after RiL started to become a reality in Europe. The statute was discussed once more, last changes were executed and the board members elected. 


The entire event was accompanied by the Mobile Exhibition, a collection of written and video testimonies by the detainees from AinZara and Human Rights Defender in Libya, recounting the repression protesters in Libya face and how they keep on fighting for better treatment. The pieces of ideas on how to create a mobile exhibition that tells the story of the unjust and violent treatment and the answer of individuals and Refugees in Libya were discussed. 

This exhibition was conceived as an itinerant one, a live proof of the stories and traumatic experiences of the human rights defenders that should reach places they themselves cannot reach in person.... It has already been presented at a political event in Frankfurt and will continue to travel through various cities in order to promote the evacuation campaign and raise awareness towards the human rights violations in Libya.




Whoever wants to support the cause and join can contact us: e-mail refugeesinlibya@gmail.com or aril@riseup.net

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