- Raise awareness in your community
- The Tawergha foundation
- Raise the issue with a human rights body in your country
Who are the people of Tawergha, Libya?
Tawergha residents are Libyans who are majority dark skinned descendants of African slaves.
What has happened?
It is a little known fact that Libyans of Tawergha have for over seven years been forcefully displaced from their hometown. On February the 1st 2018, Misrata forces blocked Tawerghan returnees resettling in their hometown. This effort to return was preceded by a decision from the Tripoli based Government of National Accord (GNA) to initiate the return process. Human Rights Watch states this was based on an agreement brokered by the UN between representatives from Misrata and Tawergha which facilitated reconciliation between the communities and compensation for victims on both sides.
As a sanction for Tawerghan support for deposed leader Muammar Gaddafi and alleged abuses by some Tawerghans against Misrata residents, in 2011, a minimum of 40,000 Tawerghans were displaced from their hometowns and dispersed around Libya in squalid conditions. Attempted return to their homeland has been thwarted by Misrata militias who accuse Tawerghans of committing war crimes in Misrata and fighting for Gaddafi’s side during the 2011 conflict.
Human Rights Watch report that since 2011, Tawerghans have faced being shot at in their camps, detention, abduction and torture. Tawerghans have also been subjected to racial slurs used by militiamen.
Human Rights Watch who spoke to Emad Ergeha, an activist of the Tawergha Local Council report he said that when Tawerghans tried to reach their village on February 1st 2018, armed groups from Misrata burned tires, harassed people and shot in the air to intimidate them. The Tawerghans were again forced to retreat on February the 1st and again on the 4th.
Ergeha reports that two men have suffered strokes and died in separate incidents.
Where are Tawerghans now?
In Qararet al-Qatef, East of Tawergha, Human Rights Watch report that between 240 and 300 families were staying in tents provided by UNHCR as well as an additional unknown number of people staying with friends or relatives in the nearby town.
Human Rights Watch also report that in Harawa southeast of Tawergha, an unknown number of families were staying in 20 to 25 tents. People were also staying in a mosque and a social gathering hall in the town, provided by the municipal council.
Southwest of Tawergha lies Bani Walid where 285 families displaced from Tawergha are living.
What action has been taken?
Generally no one from the militias has been prosecuted for the forced displacement of Tawerghans.
Human Rights Watch report that the UN international commission of Inquiry on Libya concluded a March 2012 report stating that Misrata militias had committed crimes against humanity against Tawerghans.
An excerpt on human rights watch reads:
Human Rights Watch’s research in Libya since 2011 has found rampant violations of international human rights and humanitarian law, including mass long-term arbitrary detention, torture and other ill-treatment, forced displacement, and unlawful killings. In the face of mounting atrocities, Human Rights Watch has called on the ICC prosecutor to urgently expand her investigations into ongoing grave crimes by all sides, including possible crimes against humanity.
What action can I take?
- Raise awareness in your local community by holding talks or spreading the message about this oppressed minority
- The Tawergha foundation also ask for spare time, resources or financial aid to aid the cause. They can be contacted on https://tawergha.org/home/contact.html
- Raise the issue through a letter or via email with a human rights body in your country as well as internationally
- Keep Tawerghans in your du’a
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