UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, has appealed for the closing down of migrant arrest centers in Libya and denounced what he described rights violations committed there.
Guterres declared in a report submitted on Thursday to the UN Security Council: Nothing can justify the horrendous conditions under which refugees and migrants are detained in Libya. He also said: I renew my appeal to the Libyan authorities… to fulfill their obligations under international law and to close all detention centers, in close coordination with United Nations entities.
More than 2,780 people have been arrested as of July 31 in centers across Libya, while twenty-two percent of the arrested were children, according to the secretary-general’s report.
Guterres reported: Children should never be detained, particularly when they are unaccompanied or separated from their parents, and he calls Libyan authorities to guarantee the children protection until the find long-term solutions.
The UN chief related reports of torture, enforced disappearances, and sexual and gender-based violence in the centers, which are acted by those operating the buildings, mentioning the lack of food and health care.
He also reported: Men and boys are routinely threatened with violence when they are calling their families, to pressure them to send ransom money.
The report stated: Migrants and refugees have been shot at when they attempted to escape, resulting in injuries and deaths, claiming that certainly left on the streets or bushes to die when they are deemed too weak to survive. It also reported that in centers where arms and munitions are stored, some refugees and migrants are recruited by force, while others are forced to repair or reload firearms for armed groups.
The UN chief said that more than a year after the air attack in July 2019 that killed more than 50 refugees and migrants and injured dozens at an arrest center close to Tripoli; no one has been forced to account for the deaths.
It should be noted that Libya has plunged to the chaos since the overthrow and killing of dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 in a revolution backed by NATO, with competing administrations fighting for power. Libya is also like the main route for irregular migration from Africa into Europe, via the Mediterranean Sea.