Sunday, December 10, 2023

Over 24,000 Bangladeshis move to safety

Await evacuation from Libya
About half of the Bangladesh nationals stranded in trouble-torn Libya are in the process of evacuation on security grounds, foreign minister Dipu Moni said Friday.
‘Those who want to stay back in Libya in general and in Tripoli in particular, should be careful about their security,’ she said, adding, ‘It might be necessary to move out of Tripoli’.
The minister also stressed the need for proper documentation of those returning home from Libya for ‘their return to jobs’ once the situation eases and for ‘getting compensation’ in future.
There are also reports of a large number of migrants fleeing the unrest in Libya and approaching the borders for evacuation, according to International Organization for Migration.
‘Some 24,913 persons are in the process of relocation,’ Dipu Moni told a briefing at the foreign ministry.
‘They have moved to safer places and are waiting for evacuation’, she said.
About 11,000 Bangladesh nationals crossed into Tunisia on Thursday after the country opened its borders with Libya for safe evacuation of foreign nationals.
Several thousand Bangladesh nationals were also waiting on Libya’s borders with Egypt for evacuation.
About 50,000 to 60,000 Bangladeshis were working in Libya.
At least 2,413 Bangladeshis, out of 24,913 who moved to safer places, returned home till 3:00pm Friday, according to the foreign ministry. Of them, about 1,650 persons flew back home with support from IOM, while others were sent home by the companies they worked for. Some of them returned home on their own.
When asked whether any Bangladeshi had died in violence in Libya, Dipu Moni said the government did not have any information.
The minister said she had met International Committee of the Red Cross and IOM director general in Geneva on March 1 for ensuring safety and security of Bangladesh nationals and chartering more flights and ships for quick evacuation of those intending to leave Libya. 
The IOM and Egyptian and Tunisian authorities have opened several temporary camps to support those who were moving out of Libya.
Most of the returnees faced trouble in these ‘temporary camps’ erected ‘without any facilities’ to discourage longer stay of foreign nationals there.
Some 3,000 Bangladeshis are still in no-man’s land between Libya and Egypt, according to IOM.
The IOM evacuated at least 640 Bangladesh nationals from the Libyan port city of Benghazi in a road convoy to Egyptian borders on Thursday. Another 6,500 Bangladeshi migrants arrived at different borders on Friday.
IOM will organise for their return home. IOM was also organising two more flights Friday to ferry an increasing number of Bangladeshi nationals to Dhaka from Tunis.
Some Bangladesh nationals reached Russia, Turkey, Greece and Malta after initial evacuation on their way back home.
Asked whether the government was considering a ‘total evacuation’, the minister said about half of the Bangladeshi workers were still inside Libya.
The government ‘is not considering a total evacuation right now’ as severity of violence was not the same in all places there, she said.
‘Situation in some places in Libya is very bad while some places are safer where
Bangladeshi workers can stay,’ Dipu Moni said.
However, those who move out of Libya will get all assistance to return home, she said.
‘The government is doing and will do everything possible to ensure safe return of those who want to come back through third countries,’ the minister said, adding, ‘It is not possible to directly evacuate the people staying in Libya.’
‘We cannot force anybody to leave Libya,’ she said.
The minister said the situation in Libya could change to ‘any direction’ and the government ‘will take necessary measures to face the situation’.
To a question from New Age about the allegations of non-cooperation and misbehaviour with a section of Bangladesh nationals by the Bangladesh embassy staff in Tripoli, Dipu Moni said, ‘It is unfortunate if anybody has faced such situation…’
Fifty, out of 400 Bangladeshis who took shelter in the embassy, were still in the shelter of the Bangladesh mission, she said.
Foreign affairs secretary Mohamed Mijarul Quayes praised the foreign ministry staff working in the region. The ambassadors and the staff ‘are doing an enormous job’, he said.
However, he said he respected the ‘sentiments’ of the persons who had brought allegations against the embassy staff in Libya.
Expatriate welfare secretary Zafar Ahmed Khan and additional foreign secretaries Mustafa Kamal and M Khorshed Alam were present at the briefing.


Courtesy of New Age

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