By Houda Mzioudet.
Tripoli, 21 June 2013:
The detention conditions for refugees, asylum seekers and migrants in Libya have been slammed as “deplorable” in a new Amnesty International report.
The research, released yesterday on World Refugee Day, also criticised EU funding programmes designed to help the Libyan authorities to curb illegal immigration, describing the initiative as “troubling”. EU funds should have been allocated to promote human rights in Libya, Amnesty said, but instead have been used: “To support detention centres where thousands of foreign nationals are unlawfully held.”
The international human rights organisation documented abuses of migrants, mostly from sub-Saharan Africa, during visits to some 5,000 detainees held in 17 detention centres under the supervision of the Ministry of Interior. There were reports of ill-treatment, sometimes amounting to torture, and physical violence towards women by members of some militias running these detention centres.
Amnesty’s deputy programme director for the MENA region, Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, called upon the Libyan authorities to put an end to the “indefinite detention of refugees, asylum seekers and immigrants” and, in particular, of children.
In May 2013, Libya deported 25,000 people who entered Libya illegally, Amnesty said, calling upon the country to stop the “arbitrary arrests” of suspected illegal immigrants. The report urged the Libyan authorities to show a serious commitment to respecting basic human rights of all such suspects, “whatever their status or nationality.”