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Citizens of poor nations need Libya rescue too-UNCHR

Richer nations have managed to evacuate thousands of their nationals by air and by sea.


March 1, 2011 10:17 by

Many citizens of Iraq, Sudan, Somalia and other poor countries are stranded in Libya as they lack the resources to escape, U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres said on Monday.

Richer nations have managed to evacuate thousands of their nationals by air and by sea.

But, said UNHCR chief Antonio Guterres, many foreign workers and refugees have been unable to leave and fear for their lives.

“There are no planes and boats to evacuate people originating from war-torn or very poor countries,” he said in a statement.

More than 110,000 people have crossed land borders from Libya to Tunisia and Egypt so far, he estimated. Most have been Egyptians and Tunisians who were working in Libya, and some Libyans and people of other nationalities have managed to get out.

But some have been targeted for abuse or attack, Guterres said.

“Africans seem to be particularly at risk as they are being associated with foreign mercenaries,” he said.

The International Organisation for Migration estimates about 1.5 million undocumented migrant workers from Africa and Asia are currently in Libya.

( (Reporting by Laura MacInnis and Andrew Quinn)


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