Saturday, May 21, 2022

UN chief: More than 12,000 prisoners officially held in Libya Nation World News

United Nations ( Associated Press) – More than 12,000 detainees in Libya are officially held in 27 prisons and detention centers and thousands are held illegally and often in inhumane conditions in facilities controlled by “armed groups or ‘secret’ facilities” The UN chief said. in a new report.

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a report obtained on Monday by the Associated Press that the UN political mission in Libya known as UNSMIL is responsible for cases of arbitrary detention, torture, sexual violence and other violations of international law in government-run facilities. Continues to document. other groups.

He said the thousands of detainees who do not appear in official figures provided by Libyan authorities – more than 12,000 – are unable to challenge the legal basis of their continued detention.

“I am deeply concerned by the continuing human rights violations of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers in Libya,” Guterres said in the UN Security Council report.

“Female and male migrants and refugees face increased risks of rape, sexual assault and trafficking by armed groups, international trafficking and smugglers, as well as officials from the Directorate of Illegal Migration, which operates under the Ministry of the Interior, ” They said. ,

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The UN chief said UNSMIL documented cases at the Mitiga prison facility and several detention centers run by the Directorate for Illegal Migration in and around al-Jawiya and the capital Tripoli, and called the UN mission “trafficking and sexual abuse”. Reliable information was found on about 30 Nigerian women and children.

Oil-rich Libya has been engulfed in chaos since a NATO-backed uprising in 2011 that killed longtime dictator Moammar Gaddafi. The North African country has emerged in recent years as a major transit point for migrants fleeing war and poverty in Africa and the Middle East. East, in the hope of a better life in Europe.

Smugglers take advantage of the chaos and often pack desperate families into poorly equipped rubber or wooden boats that stall and founder along the dangerous Central Mediterranean route.

Guterres said migrants and refugees continue to be held in large-scale arbitrary detentions, including those who were rescued or detained and trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea to Europe and the Libyan Coast Guard. returned to Libya.

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As of December 14, he said, the Coast Guard had intercepted 30,990 migrants and refugees and returned them to Libya, “nearly three times the total number of people who returned in 2020 (12,000 people).” He said more than 1,300 people have died or disappeared while attempting the yatra.

Guterres expressed serious concern over those who were arbitrarily detained and left homeless after extensive security operations by Libyan authorities in October, which he said had used “excessive and disproportionate force”. Was.” He said the campaign targeted more than 5,150 migrants and refugees, including at least 1,000 women and children, and that families were separated and children went missing.

Since August, Guterres has criticized the “without due process” expulsion of hundreds of civilians from Libya’s eastern and southern borders to Chad, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia and Sudan into Sudan and Chad.

“The evacuation did not respect the prohibition of mass evictions and the return of people without their consent,” the secretary-general said, and placed many asylum seekers and migrants in extremely vulnerable positions.

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Nation World News Desk
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