Amnesty International highlights persecution of Christian migrants and refugees in Libya

A report by Amnesty International has catalogued the serious abuses experienced by Christian migrants and refugees during their attempts to reach Europe. Christians attempting to travel to Europe from Libya face acute danger and are targeted by both people traffickers and Islamist groups within the country.

Amal, a 21-year-old Eritrean Christian, was near Benghazi, Libya, when she and the 71 people she was travelling with were abducted by armed men. They separated the Christians from the Muslims and then the women from the men. Amal, along with the other women, was held underground as a sex slave for nine months and forced to convert to Islam.

Even Christians in official immigration detention centres face ill-treatment, as Loweth, a Nigerian woman explains: “The guards, they are Muslim. We are Christian. Whenever we would start to pray…They would come with hoses and would threaten us with beatings if we don’t stop praying. Sometimes they would beat us.”

The report concludes that “Religious minorities, in particular Christian migrants and refugees, are persecuted and are at highest risk of abuse from armed groups that seek to enforce their own interpretation of Islamic law.”

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