Political Affairs

UNSMIL calls again for the closure of all migration detention centres in Libya

Libyan Cloud News Agency – Tunisia

The United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) has reiterated the urgent need to close down all migration detention centres in Libya and release migrants and asylum seekers.

The call came on the first anniversary of the airstrike on the Tajoura Detention Centre which resulted in the killing of at least 52 migrants and the injury of 87 others in one of the deadliest incidents since the launch of the attack on Tripoli in April 2019.

In a statement, UNSMIL said that the closure of detention centres is urgent as Libya grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic, with detained migrants and asylum seekers who are vulnerable and exposed, given the poor sanitation, health and overcrowded conditions in detention centres.

 According to the UNSMIL/OHCHR public report on the airstrikes, the Tajoura attack, depending on the precise circumstances, may have amounted to a war crime.   

“In addition, the failure to move detainees from the vicinity of a potential military objective or move military objects that were positioned next to the detention centre, likely amounts to a violation of the obligation under international law to take all feasible measures to protect civilians under their control from the effects of potential attacks,” read the statement.

UNSMIL concluded that the UN is concerned that over 5000 migrants and asylum seekers have been intercepted at sea this year and returned to Libya where they are frequently subjected to arbitrary detention, human rights violations and abuses.

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