MSF reports horrific conditions in Libyan detention centres

Photo: Woman and children detained at the Sorman detention center, 59 kilometres west of Tripoli. Guillaume Binet/Myop.

TMP – 21/09/2017

The international humanitarian organization Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has said that migrants in Libyan detention centres are suffering from dire, unhealthy and abusive conditions.

MSF, also known as Doctors Without Borders, in a recent press release stated that detainees are exposed to array of infections as well as many suffering diarrhea, scabies and lice..

“Detainees are stripped of any human dignity, exposed to abusive treatment and lack of adequate access to medical care,” said Dr.Sibylle Sang, medical advisor for MSF.

The organization has been able to observe the horrific conditions for more than one year as its medical team has been treating migrants held in detention centres across Tripoli.

“Many detention centres have limited natural light and ventilation and are dangerously overcrowded. The amount of space per detainee is so limited that people are unable to stretch out at night. Food shortages have caused acute malnutrition in adults, with some patients requiring urgent hospitalization,” the press release stated.

MSF characterizes the detention system as “harmful and exploitative”. It says there is a lack of oversight and regulation and that basic safeguards to prevent torture and ill-treatment are not respected. With no formal registration or proper record-keeping in place, once people are inside a detention centre there is no way to track what happens to them. From one day to the next, migrants can be transferred between different detention centres or moved to undisclosed locations. Some disappear without a trace.

Over the past year, MSF medical teams have visited seven different detention centres in Tripoli on a weekly basis.