Daily life has always been very challenging for asylum-seekers and refugees in Libya, which has been roiled by war and political turmoil for the past decade, and hit hard in the COVID-19 pandemic. The lack of a national asylum law means they are considered to be “illegal migrants” and are liable to arrest, detention and abuse.
But nothing prepared them for the events of this month. In the widespread crackdown launched on 1 October in Hai Alandalus municipality — which includes Gergaresh — security forces demolished unfinished and makeshift houses sheltering asylum-seekers and migrants. At least seven people were reportedly killed during the operation in the following days. This week, a Sudanese asylum-seeker was killed on the streets of Tripoli, after being beaten and shot.