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In a letter to Salamé, MSF defends its role in merchant ship Nivin in Misurata

The Address | Benghazi – Libya

TRIPOLI – Doctors Without Borders or Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has defended the role it played in the situation regarding around 80 migrants whom were on board the merchant ship Nivin and were forcibly disembarked in Misurata last month.

In a letter addressed to Ghassan Salamé, Special Representative and Head of the UN Support Mission in Libya, William Hennequin in charge of MSF operations in Libya, refers to a recent media interview in which Salamé referred to the incident.

“Arriving in the port of Misrata on 10 November, they refused to disembark. Ten days later, on 20 November, Libyan security forces stormed the ship and forcibly removed everyone on board,” Hennequin said in his letter.

“You referred to negotiations by UN agencies and Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) with the people on board the ship – who you appeared to judge as “divided” and partially responsible for the storming of the ship due to their desperate obstinacy to uphold their rights,” he said.

MSF contradicted Salamé explanation on the sequence of events and said: “You declared that you were “able to extract 14 people peacefully,” referring to a group of people who, after four days of tense confrontation, chose to disembark voluntarily from the docked ship.

“You made no mention, however, of the fact that, after disembarking, these 14 people – who included a mother and her four-month-old baby, adolescents and people with minor injuries – were taken from the cargo ship to a detention centre, where they remain to this day,” said Hennequin in his letter.

On November 22, Coast Guard forces loyal to the Interior Ministry of the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord have used rubber bullets and tear gas to forcibly disembark more than 80 refugees and migrants who had refused to leave the merchant ship Nivin, which had rescued them, in the port of Misurata.

The forced disembarkation was condemned by several international human rights organizations. It resulted in injuring several migrants, two of which had to be transported to a hospital in Tripoli due to their critical injuries, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

Several migrants injured aboard a ship in Misurata as Coast Guard shot rubber bullets

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