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March 1996, Volume 3, Number 3

Libya Expels Foreign Workers

One in three of Libya's five million residents is a foreigner. Since late September, 1995, Col. Mohammar Qaddafi began expelling several hundred foreigners each week. His aim is to expel one million people.

Qaddafi hopes to replace the foreigners with unemployed Libyans--the unemployment rate among them is about 30 percent. After expelling 30,000 Palestinians, Qaddafi relented and allowed the remainder to stay. About 8,000 Iraqi teachers were brought in to replace the Palestinian teachers who were forced to leave.

Africans in Libya continue to be expelled. About 70,000 of the 500,000 Sudanese in Libya have left, as have 5,000 to 10,000 Egyptians. About 10,000 Mauritanians were threatened with expulsion when their government talked to Israel.

On January 18, 186 Eritreans were expelled, and in February, 154 Ethiopians left Libya.

A Libyan government official reported that over 335,000 foreigners were sent home in 1995. Of those, 200,000 were deported--the remainder left voluntarily.

"Libya says sent home 335,000 foreigners in 1995," Reuters World Service, February 11, 1996. "Libya, Africans, out," The Economist, January 6, 1996. "Libya sends home 186 Eritrean," Reuters, January 18, 1996.