Human Rights Watch: UAE tricked Sudanese men into Libya war recruitment

Human Rights Watch has published a report of the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) recruitment of Sudanese nationals to fight for warlord Khalifa Haftar in Libya, saying the Sudanese men have been schemed by the UAE.

The report: “Recruited as Security Guards in the UAE, Deceived into Working in Conflict-Ridden Libya Instead” recounts first hand experiences of Sudanese nationals who thought they would work in Abu Dhabi as security guards and ended up transferred to Ras Lanuf and other parts in Libya to fight the war of warlord Haftar against the Government of National Accord.

The Sudanese men were transported to, and housed in, a dilapidated military compound in the eastern Libyan town of Ras Lanuf by the Abu Dhabi-based Black Shield Security Services – the Emirati security services company that hired them in the first place.

“They were told they would guard the surrounding oil facilities Haftar’s forces controlled.” Human Rights Watch said.

“They experienced several exploitative recruitment practices and migrant labor abuses commonly faced by migrant workers in the UAE and the wider Gulf region.” Human Rights Watch added.

“What appears to be unusual in their case is that the deception they were subjected to ultimately put them at risk of becoming potential military targets in a country embroiled in a years-long civil war, in what could amount to a violation of international humanitarian law.” It further explained.

Since returning to Sudan, the men have assembled a team of local volunteer lawyers, headed by Suleiman Jiddi. Jiddi told Human Rights Watch in September 2020 that criminal complaints of fraud and trafficking have been submitted to the courts against local recruitment companies that contributed to deceiving the Sudanese men and facilitating jobs with Black Shield Security Services.

A second lawyer the men consulted, Omar al-Obaid, said in October that he is “planning to take the case to international courts.” Protests led by the returned Sudanese men demanding an apology and compensation from UAE authorities continue to take place sporadically in front of the UAE embassy in Khartoum., Human Rights Watch reported.


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