By Ashraf Abdul Wahab.
Alexandria, 17 January 2017:
A Libyan NGO, Al-Adala Awalan (“Justice First”) is organising the return of Libyan exiles currently stuck in Egypt.
A convoy taking 15 families comprising 50 people will leave Cairo for Tobruk on 22 January. Once in Tobruk, they will be housed for a year by the NGO as well as provided with LD 1,000 a month for the same period.
The project is being funded by the NGO’s chairman, Libyan businessman and philanthropist Hassan Tatanaki. He told the Libya Herald that he had rented three apartment blocks in the town for the purpose.
Each of the 15 families will travel on Sunday in a separate minibus. The convoy will also include an ambulance with a medical team in case of emergencies during the trip, plus a group of volunteers to deal with any problems that may arise at the border controls.
The NGO is also making financial provision for furnishing the apartments in Tobruk
Sunday’s convoy is, though, just the first step in larger plans to repatriate hundreds of families currently in Egypt as well as Tunisia.
Discussions are already underway to house groups in Beida and Shahat and an office is be set up in Tunisia to organise the repatriation of Libyans there to western Libya.
Settling those displaced within Libya is also part of the project.
According to Tatanaki the number of Libyans in Egypt wanting to return and making enquiries about the project is rising day by day.
So far there is no official Libyan funding for the scheme, mainly because the neither the Tripoli or Beida government have the money. However, it has the active support of the latter. On 25 December, a cooperation agreement was signed between its labour and social affairs minister, Masoud Suwah, and Tatanaki in his role as the NGO’s chairman. Describing the project as “historic”, Suwah called on other Libya businesses, merchants and organisations to join in and help fund it.
There has also been an agreement between Al-Adala Awalan with local elders in Torbuk to ensure that the repatriated families, none of whom are from the town or the area, are welcomed and supported over the next year.
Al-Adala Awlan was created in 2012. Its aim then was to document humanitarian crimes. Since then, it has widened its focus to the plight of Libyan exiles, and now helping them to return to Libya.