As many of you may now know, Eman was forcibly removed from her hotel in Qatar this morning and sent to rebel-held Benghazi in the east of Libya. UNHCR, The UN’s Refugee Agency, has stated that Qatar’s actions contravened international law as UNHCR has officially recognised Eman as a refugee.
UNHCR were at the hotel with Eman in order to transfer her to an emergency transit centre in Romania but, in the early hours of Thursday morning, Eman was prevented from leaving the hotel for her flight. Reports say she was then forcibly removed, with her family (although some reports say her family remained in Libya) and put on a flight to Benghazi. Some reports say she was beaten and arrived in Libya with scratches and bruises.
The UNHRC has made it very clear that if the country of asylum – whether or not they are signatories to the UN Convention relating to the Status of Refugees – are forbidden from returning refugees to their original country of origin. I hope the UN is prepared to take a stand on this.
Although some people may say Eman is better off in the east of Libya, she should not have been sent back to Libya at all. Eman has said in a previous interview to Channel 4 News’s Jonathan Miller that she feared going back to Libya, even the east. He has tweeted today saying he fears for her. For the full transcript of her interview from Qatar at this website: http://www.channel4.com/news/eman-al-obeidi-in-her-own-words
A statement from Adrian Edwards at UNHRC issued today said that they were hoping to arrange a meeting with Eman and her family this morning. For more updates, you can follow @sybellawilkes of UNHCR on Twitter.
Eman needs help. I, and so many others, are worried about her. If anything happens to her, Qatar has blood on their hands.