In an opinion piece for CNN, Bill Frelick, refugees director for Human Rights Watch (HRW), calls for international support to get suspected rape victim Eman al-Obeidy out of Libya and into a safe country.
Obeidy was apparently smuggled out of Libya last month and resided in Qatar with her parents for several weeks before she was “forcibly deported” back home on Thursday. Human rights groups have condemned the deportation.
Says HRW’s Bill Frelick:
I could hardly believe the story — not because I’m surprised by government misbehavior when it comes to illegally deporting refugees, but because they don’t usually do it so brazenly: The victim was well-known worldwide, and it was hard to imagine that Qatar would risk international censure to return a single refugee.
The critical issue now is that al-Obeidy be allowed to leave Libya and proceed to Romania and resettlement, ultimately, in a place where she feels safe, and where she will receive the support and services that will help her to overcome her ghastly experiences.
The National Transitional Council that currently rules eastern Libya has already promised that she will be allowed to move freely, in and out of Libya, a good first step. But while she remains in rebel territory, they are also responsible for her safety and well-being.
Frelick goes on to say that as long as she remains in Libya, Obeidy is at risk and could be ostricized from society there, as culturally, rape is considered a crime against her “honor”.
What do you think – is Obeidy being punished for speaking out about a sensitive subject in conservative societies?