Posted by: Jeff | May 10, 2011

Using Migrants as Weapons

A ship carrying nearly 600 people sank off the coast of Libya this week, killing all but one passenger.  The ship, headed to Europe, was filled mostly with Somali migrant workers.  This continues a pattern of greater numbers of foreign laborers leaving Libya for Europe.  Interviews with migrants who made it to Italy – often on ships in deep distress – now seem to implicate the Libyan regime in forcing them to leave.  A great catch by MSNBC:

A spokesman for Moammar Gadhafi suggested that increased illegal immigration was the price European nations would pay for their military and political support of the rebels trying to topple Libya’s strongman.

“Because of the NATO aggression against our country and because our coastal border guard is being hit daily … we are unable to deal with this situation and that is why Europe is being flooded with illegal immigration,” government spokesman Moussa Ibrahim said. “We cannot be the guards of Europe at this moment.”

This is a harrowing demonstration of how marginalized migrants are within host societies and how politicized human rights is for the undocumented.  It’s a horribly sad story all around.

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