The All-Party Parliamentary Human Rights Group (PHRG) organised a screening of Ross Kemp’s powerful documentary “Libya’s Migrant Hell”, followed by a Q&A with Ross (RK), the film’s producer Jamie Welham and director Marta Shaw, on 22 February, to raise greater awareness about the appalling suffering of those making the journey through Libya to the coast in an effort to reach Europe, including those held in official and unofficial detention facilities in the country and those in the hands of highly organised people trafficking networks, and the urgent need for the international community to do more to alleviate that suffering.
The PHRG would like to thank PHRG Chair Ann Clwyd MP for chairing themeeting, and Baroness McDonagh and her staff for assisting with the organisation.
The film can be viewed using this link: https://vimeo.com/200699175 Password: Libya11
The main points made during the Q&A following the screening were as follows:
- Ross Kemp said that though he usually had some sense of hope about how problems raised in his films could be addressed, he felt that right now, given NGOs are not able to operate in Libya, he didn’t see answers in the short- or long-term.
- In a response to a question from Brendan O’Hara MP about the locations at which migrants are being held in Libya, RK said that some 7000 are in official detention centres. The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) sends some migrants back home on flights. It was rumoured, however, that many migrants were being dumped on the Libyan border.
- In a response to a question from Lord Hussain about what the UK and EU should be doing as a matter of urgency, RK said that the ultimately a political solution was required in Libya, but that the UK and EU also had to ensure more people were made aware of the perils of the journey to dissuade them from attempting it.
- Amnesty International UK stressed the need for more safe legal routes for those entitled to international protection.
- In a response to a question from Joan Ryan MP about assistance available to migrants and refugees in Libya, RK said that only the Libyan Red Crescent was very active and that IOM was helping send people back to their home countries.
- In a response to a question from Natalie McGarry MP about migrants’ expectations on their arrival in Europe, RK said that many who made it to Europe worked in the black economy, but did not tell the truth to those back home about what their lives are really like because they did not want to lose face.
The PHRG plans to follow up with meetings with relevant UK Government Departments, and to raise related issues with relevant interlocutors. The PHRG Chair has also already tabled EDM 978 – TREATMENT OF MIGRANTS AND REFUGEES IN LIBYA – for which she welcomes the support of fellow MPs, and has called on the UK Government to make a statement.