[JURIST] Libya's plan to begin the mass expulsion of illegal foreign residents violates international human rights law [press release], Amnesty International said Friday, noting that "collective expulsions are inherently arbitrary and those seeking refuge from persecution risk being sent back to face torture and other serious human rights violations in such a sweeping measure." Earlier in the week, the government said it was taking steps to immediately deport all foreign residents who don't have a legal visa. An estimated 2 million foreigners currently live in Libya, but only some 60,000 have proper documentation.
In the Amnesty statement, Philip Luther, deputy programme director for the Middle East and North Africa said:
We call on the Libyan authorities not to implement what appears to be a rushed decision as it would violate the rights of potentially hundreds of thousands of people, including women and children.... The Libyan authorities must ensure that no deportation is carried out in an arbitrary manner and no person in need of international protection is expelled.... We urge Libya to ensure that all migrants, asylum-seekers, and refugees detained in the country are protected from torture and other ill-treatment and are treated humanely. They should be provided with adequate medical treatment and allowed to challenge the lawfulness of their detention.Libya has rejected Amnesty's criticism [AP report], saying that the expulsions are legal under Libyan law, which requires both entry and exit visas for foreigners. In a statement to the Associated Press, government spokesperson Abdel-Moneim al-Lamoushi said that the plan was "final and not to be reconsidered." Reuters has more.