By Libya Herald reporters.
Tripoli, 11 September 2016:
Migrants were suffering in detention centres because the system has already run up unpaid debts of LD120 million, a burden that Libya could not bear by itself, Presidency Council member Musa Koni said today.
Koni, who is acting PC head while Faiez Serraj takes an Eid break, visited some of the Tripoli camps where would-be migrants are being held. These people have either been picked up at sea by the coastguard or scooped up in searches on land.
However while Koni admitted that conditions in the centres were bad because the authorities could not afford to give inmates proper care, he denied that there was any abuse of detainees. Any violent acts to which the migrants were subjected had happened away from the centres, he said. The migrants needed to be in the camps which guaranteed their care and safety.
Koni lambasted the international community, particularly the EU, for what he said was its failure to deliver support. What assistance Libya had been receiving, Koni told the news agency LANA, has been from some humanitarian organisations that sought, in difficult conditions, to provide some medical needs, clothes and blankets.
He said that Libya was prepared to bear part of the migrant burden but it could not bear it all. It needed help, for instance to construct purpose-built detention centres.
There has been frequent international criticism of the conditions in the camps where migrants are held. The International Organisation for Migration’s (IOM) has spoken of severe overcrowding, physical and sexual abuse and inhumane and degrading conditions.
This June, the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) issued a damning report that said camps were in a dire state and the capacity of humanitarian organisations such as the Libyan Red Crescent to cope with the challenges was reaching its limit.