UN human rights chief: Migrants detained in inhuman conditions in Libya

Photo credit: UNHCR/Iason Foounten.

TMP – 01/12/2017

Thousands of migrants are being detained in “horrific” and “inhuman” conditions inside Libyan government facilities, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights said on 14 November.

Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein made the statement following interviews with detainees carried out by UN monitors in four government detention facilities in Tripoli during the first week of November.

“Monitors were shocked by what they witnessed: thousands of emaciated and traumatized men, women and children piled on top of one another, locked up in hangars with no access to the most basic necessities, and stripped of their human dignity,” a spokesperson for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) told reporters.

Detainees at the centres said they are often beaten or prodded with electric sticks if they ask for food and medicine. There are no functioning toilets in the hangar-like facilities that stink of urine and faeces.’ Rape and other sexual violence are reported to be commonplace.
According to OHCHR, those detained have no possibility to challenge the legality of their detention and no access to legal aid. Nearly 20,000 people are currently held in detention

OHCHR urged the Libyan authorities to stamp out human rights violations in centres under their control, while also calling on the international community not to turn a blind eye to the “unimaginable horrors” endured by migrants in Libya.