The Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights on Tuesday said that migrants were detained in “horrific conditions” in Libya, and expressed concern regarding the European Union’s policy of helping the Libyan Coast Guard in intercepting illegal crossings.
U.N. rights spokesman says U.N. human rights monitors who visited four detention facilities in Tripoli and conducted interviews with those detained were shocked at “emaciated and traumatized” men, women and children locked up in hangars.
“We are dismayed at the sharp increase in the number of migrants held in horrific conditions at detention facilities in Libya, and repeat our concerns about the European Union’s policy of assisting the Libyan Coast Guard to intercept and return migrants in the Mediterranean,” said the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Spokesperson, Jeremy Laurence.
We are dismayed at the sharp increase in the number of migrants held in horrific conditions at detention facilities in Libya.
According to Libya’s Department of Combating Illegal Migration, 19,900 people were being held in facilities under its control in early November, up from about 7,000 in mid-September when authorities detained thousands of migrants following armed clashes in Sabratha.
“The increasing interventions of the EU and its member states have done nothing so far to reduce the levels of abuses suffered by migrants. Our monitoring, in fact, shows a fast deterioration in their situation in Libya,” Laurence added.
A 2016 deal with Turkey effectively closed one major migratory route and this year Italy has led the EU’s efforts to curb sea crossings from Libya, supplying money, equipment and training for Libya’s border and coast guard, and striking deals with local groups in control on the ground.
According to U.N. data Mediterranean crossings have dropped from nearly 28,000 people in June to below 10,000 in August.