8 November 2013

Libya: Moroccans Fear Returning to Libya

Rabat — Many Moroccans who came back home from Libya after the revolution have yet to go back. While some of them plan to return to Libya, others fear the on-going violence.

Naima, 53, lived in Libya for eight years. A mother of three, she had to move there in 2005 to look after her family. In Libya, her job at a large festival hall gave her an income equivalent to 5,000 dirhams (447 euros) per month and enabled her to meet the needs of her children and mother, she said.

Although her financial situation has worsened since she returned to Morocco, she does not plan to go back.

"I've lost everything. I call friends and they tell me that insecurity still prevails. I can't take any risks. I still feel scared when I remember the war scenes, especially since stability is too fragile in that country," she said with tears in her eyes.

Hicham Ferraki said that although stability was lacking in Libya, the shortage of job opportunities in Morocco meant that it would be better to return to Tripoli where he worked for ten years.

"I want to go back, but the administrative procedures have become difficult. You need a visa to get into Libya. Here in Morocco, I still haven't found a job even though it's been two years since I came back to my home country. Without the help of my family, I can't survive. So I won't hesitate to head straight to Libya so I can make a living," he said with determination.

Like Hicham, many Moroccans who lived in Libya now hope to go back there. To highlight their situation, the parliamentary group of the Constitutional Union party in the Chamber of Councillors questioned Foreign Minister Salah Eddine Mezouar on their plight on October 28th. The MPs called on the government to shoulder its responsibilities towards them.

During his speech, Mezouar offered assurances and said that the joint consular committee between the two countries would begin investigating cases involving this community, estimated at more than 100,000 people, by the end of this year. He added that the matter was constantly raised with Libya, as happened during the latest visit by the Libyan prime minister to Morocco.

The Moroccan embassy in Libya has taken steps to


help the expat workers, including with regard to the protection of their property and help with their social needs.

"We will do our best to help Moroccan nationals living in Libya so that their suffering will end," the foreign minister pledged. He said that he hoped to see stability prevail in the country, whose people and decision-makers face security challenges, in the near future.

In July 2012, Morocco and Libya agreed that visa requirements would be waived for Moroccans who hold diplomatic, official or special passports. They also agreed to continue with joint efforts to lift visa requirements for Moroccan citizens who hold ordinary passports once security has been restored and competent authorities have been established in Libya.

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