By Libya Herald staff.
Tripoli 25 June 2014:
Human Rights Watch (HRW) has lashed out at the treatment of migrants in detention centres . . .[restrict]in the country, claiming to have evidence of massive overcrowding, dire sanitation conditions, lack of access to adequate medical care and cases of abuse .
In a report issued 23 June 2014, HRW has called on the EU and Italy, who have committed at least €12 million over the next four years, to discontinue funding to the centres until the Libyan Ministry of Interior, which runs them, agrees to investigate. It also want the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to independently verify that the abuses have stopped.
The HRW also recommended that once the abuses end, the EU and Italy should make an agreement with the Ministry of Interior that outlines how further aid will be used to bring the conditions in the centres into line with minimum international standards by the end of 2014. If the deadline is not met, all aid to sub-standard centres should be suspended, it demands.
According to Gerry Simpson, senior refugee researcher at HMR, female detainees who were interviewed described being strip-searched by male guards, while male detainees claimed to have been beaten and in some cases, tortured.
“The political situation in Libya may be tough,” Simpson said, “but the government has no excuse for torture and other deplorable violence by guards in these detention centres.”
In addition to the harsh treatment suffered by the detainees, HRW documented severe overcrowding and poor sanitation in the majority of centres it visited. In some cases, researches saw up to 60 men and boys crammed into 30 square meters of space.
According to reports, the migrants were held in shipping containers, former veterinary centres, and unused government offices. Dozens of detainees told HRW that they had spent months confined 24 hours a day in rooms and containers.
In April 2014, the Ministry of Interior’s Department for Combating Illegal Migration gave HRW unlimited access to all 19 migrant detention centres in Libya and gave the group permission to interview the detainees confidentially. HRW visited nine centres and interviewed 138 detainees. [/restrict]