Gutterres: “the burst of solidarity in Ras Jedir is one of a kind”

The United Nations High Commissionership for Refugees UNHCR and the International Organization for Migration IOM urged the international community to provide aid to migrants stranded at “Choucha” camp in Ras Jedir and keep on supporting the efforts to repatriate refugees fleeing Libya.

Speaking at a news conference he gave here on Wednesday afternoon with IOM director general William Lacy Swing, UN high Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Gutterres hailed the generosity of Tunisia’s people in spite of the difficult economic situation their country is living through after the last uprising.

Gutterres said he was « impressed by the burst of exemplary solidarity in Ras Jedir », with the contribution of Tunisian volunteer workers, activists of the civil society and national army units with the assistance of international organizations and authorities.

He noted that no epidemics or disease had been reported in” Choucha ” camp and affirmed that « the Tunisian people had set the best example about democratic revolutions in the world», calling in this respect on advanced countries to back ²Tunisia’s efforts to evacuate migrants stranded at Tunisian-Libyan borders and especially the Bangladeshis, and host some of them in order to reduce the extent of this crisis.

Speaking of the improvement of the situation at the Tunisian-Libyan border in view of the reduction in the flow of refugees, Gutterres “warned against the emergence of other possible situations caused by the developments in Libya “.

He also voiced hope that the crisis in Libya will be resolved for the benefit of Libya’s people and foreign communities living there.

As regards William Lacy Swing, the major aim of the international organization for migration IOM is to secure the repatriation of refugees fleeing Libya, outlining that the fulfillment of this objective required to schedule additional flights.

“The problem of evacuating refugees, notably the Bangladeshis will not last any longer”, he said, urging the international community to mobilize all the efforts to help Tunisia in these current circumstances, notably after the return of about 30 000 Tunisian nationals from Libya.

As regards political refugees in Libya, Swing said that 8 political refugees from Somalia and Eritrea had crossed into Ras Jedir and had been transferred to Italy.

He went on saying that the organization had received 500 applications from people seeking political asylum, most of them coming from Southern African States, which is «a worrying situation » for the IOM, he reckoned.

IN conclusion, he voiced hope that the UN organization will manage to enter Libya to settle the situation of the remaining foreigners stranded there, speaking of “poor cooperation” with Libyan authorities in this regard.



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