AYS 10/12/2017 - On Human Rights Day two reports of ransom, torture and slavery in Libya

Busy weekend in the Mediterranean /// Dire hygienic conditions on the Greek islands /// Snow and no shelters in Calais /// Demonstration against mass deportation in Sweden /// Updates from anti-slavery demo in London

The Rich get richer, by Rodrigo de Matos (Art Against)

Journalist Meron Estefanos has been in contact with refugees in Libya in both ‘legal’ and illegal detention and in smugglers connection houses. People are being held hostage by both smugglers and militias in illegal detention. But even in ‘legal’ detention conditions are bad. Many people pay smugglers to enter them and then struggle to get registered by UNHCR.

In one illegal detention building, people have been imprisoned for 8 weeks since they were ‘arrested’ near Sebratha. Now the militia is demanding that they get paid $3600 per person to take them to the legal detention. Other have been asked to pay as much as $5500 each and most of them have paid the ransom 4 or 5 times with no result.

Refugees staying at a smugglers connection house, who have already paid for the sea trip, are also being asked to pay $3600 each just to be taken to the legal detention. Refugees held hostage by the smugglers report being tortured, starved and raped. People are desperate and families don’t know what to do.

These are pictures from the so called legal detention, taken by the refugees. @Meron Estefanos

Reports from L’Espresso also confirm the continuing mistreatment of refugees in Libya.

After they caught me in the sea I have been moved in three different prisons, the first was in Tripoli. Then one night a group of armed boys came in. They took me and fifty other people by force and took us to a shed where we stayed for weeks. They beat us every day, we did not have enough water or food, they treated us like animals. We are not human beings for them, we are objects. Less than objects. Our life has no value, blacks are used to be sold or blackmailed. Now we are here but anyone can come in, take us away and ask our families for money to free us. The value of men is two thousand dinars, women three thousand. Pregnant women up to four thousand.

Yet, this week the Libyan coastguard have continued to intercept boats and return people to these conditions against their will. Italy continues to support them. On Human Rights Day we would like to ask — When will the EU stop contributing to human slavery?


On Saturday, the 9th of December, Aquarius found and rescued 115 people, including 11 women and a baby, who were on board a fragile boat at risk from the waves are now safe on board Aquarius.

On Sunday 10th, 335 people were transferred from Proactiva Open Arms and merchant ships

In total there were 450 refugees of 26 different nationalities including Eritrea, Syria, Libya, côte d ‘ Ivoire, Senegal, guinea Conakry and Pakistan. All of them had transited through Libya and have now been brought to safe harbour.

Tonight, in the immensity of this relentless sea, 60 miles off #Libya 13 people rescued, 6 children. There is no law.

Above all, despite all the obstacles, we defend and will defend the most important: the right to life.

Salvamento Maritimo were also patrolling

Guardamar Concepción Arenal rescues at night and early morning 53 and 22 people from 2 dinghies in the Strait and disembarked in Barbate other 25 people rescued by guardia civil patrol boat

Salvamar Denebola crew has rescued 4 people in the southernmost point of Europe. Already landed in Algeciras. Thank you ship Eagle Turn by sight and warn.

According to the Italian radio station Radio Radicale a total of 900 migrants arrived in the last 48 hours in the cold of December, saved by NGOs, Coast Guard, EU4med. The latest 3 ships are arriving today in the ports of Augusta, Catania and Trapani.


Authorities and Government have tweeted, posted and released official statements about Human Rights Day. In the meanwhile thousands of people are still held in the Greek Islands, unable to leave, in overcrowded hotspots, with dire hygienic conditions.

Call for donations and volunteers

Pampiraki warehouse supply all squats, mainland camps, the islands, families in apartments, the Athens homeless, etc.

We all know them well. They are an extraordinarily efficient, centralized, and egalitarian, distribution point.
They are in a very serious crisis with dry food and supplies.

We are basically running out of food and the donations we are getting are not covering all the needs. [For]… example, we need at least 130 ltrs of oil just to minimally cover 8 of the squats for a week & 275 kgs of legumes. And this is just for 8 squats….

[We are] running out of options, need to find new solutions.

You can help them by contacting Negia Milian for details.

One Happy Family is looking for sponsorships for their long-term volunteers working in the community centre in Lesvos.

Read more about their sponsorship system here.


Local media report that a group of detainees of the CPR (Centro Permanente per il Rimpatrio, Permanent centre for repatriation) of Pian del Lago, Caltanisetta, have set fire to different points of the structure in the night between Saturday 9th and Sunday 10th.

The centre held 90 asylum seekers waiting to be deported. No one was harmed but the centre was completely destroyed.


Refugee Info Bus is among the organisations working in Calais.

Snow in Calais (Photos by Refugee Info Bus)

10th December is Human Rights Day. In Calais, we woke up to snow covering the ground once more. Emergency shipping containers have been opened for women and children but there are still hundreds of young men sleeping rough in these conditions. The state allegedly will not provide emergency shelter until the temperature is below 0°C both day and night.

Along with the other organisations operating in Calais, we are looking out for signs of hypothermia.

Support them here!

Chris, a long term volunteer of the Refugee Community Kitchen in Calais wrote a first hand account on the situation with the temperatures dropping rapidly:

People burn anything they can to keep warm: bags, tyres, old broken trainers. Everyone huddles round the toxic fumes or packs inside our van for a few hours of warmth. Red raw eyes and cold hands greet us every day. My friend. Oror. Hey bro. Salam aleikum. Akkun negar. Ça va? Choni bashi. Manana. I don’t know how people keep smiling. Or why.

Photo by Chris Sees World

Read the full account and find some useful resources on his website


Refugees welcome — Swerige published a call for demonstration against a planned mass deportation from Åstorp, at 11 AM on Monday.

14 young people Afghani men have been moved there from centres throughout the country and a charter flight is set to depart for Kabul in the late morning.

Read more here!


Photos and a report on Saturday anti-slavery demonstration were posted:

Photo by Amma Fosuah Poku

Thanks to everyone who participated in the protest today. We started in Belgrave Square, marched to the Libyan embassy in Knightsbrigde where we chanted, made our voices heard and listened to solidarity messages.

Photo by Amma Fosuah Poku

We moved on to march down Pall Mall, pass Buckingham Palace through Trafalgar Square, up to Downing Street, the official residence of the Prime Minister, all along making our voices heard.

When we reached the Houses of Parliament we made it known through our drumming, chanting and occupation of the road (some of us sat down) that we were there to deliver a message that “African Lives Matter”.

We strive to echo correct news from the ground through collaboration and fairness.

Every effort has been made to credit organizations and individuals with regard to the supply of information, video, and photo material (in cases where the source wanted to be accredited). Please notify us regarding corrections.

If there’s anything you want to share or comment, contact us through Facebook or write to: areyousyrious@gmail.com.

Daily news digests from the field, mainly for volunteers and refugees on the route, but also for journalists and other parties.

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