The National Commission for Human Rights in Libya (NCHRL) called for an investigation into the circumstances of the death of an asylum seeker in a detention centre for irregular migration in the Ain Zara area of Tripoli on June 5th.
In a statement, the NCHRL said that the body of Mohamed Mahmoud Abdel Aziz was found in the centre. According to his friends, he hanged himself at exactly 22:00.
The NCHRL pointed out that the victim is from Sudan and was 19 years old. He suffered a head injury two years ago, when an employer, who refused to pay the victim his wages, assaulted him by beating him. Since that incident, the victim has been suffering from brain health problems and pain attacks.
At the beginning of this year, the victim registered as an asylum seeker with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Tripoli. The Anti-Illegal Migration Agency arrested the victim along with hundreds who were arrested in front of the UNHCR’s Community Centre building in the Sarraj area on January 10th, 2022.
The NCHRL indicated that the UNHCR was aware of his health condition and requested his release from the Ain Zara centre and pledged to provide an amount of money sufficient to cover the rent for one month’s housing. The victim voluntarily returned to the centre due to his lack of feeling safe on the street.
The committee stressed that this unfortunate incident sheds light on the conditions of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers in Libya. In particular this concerns those who are registered with the UNHCR as asylum seekers in countries of destination Europe. The victim’s friends stated that when they informed the UNHCR office that he was found hanging, the office refused to intervene and his body remained hanging until almost a full day.
According to the UNHCR reports, more than 40,000 refugees and asylum seekers have been registered with the UNHCR office in Libya. The UNHCR has only one office in Tripoli, and hundreds of refugees and asylum seekers inside and outside Tripoli do not receive any amount of support and assistance from the office. Dozens complained that the UNHCR office did not respond to phone calls.
The NCHRL called on the competent authorities to investigate the circumstances of the death of asylum seeker Mohamed Mahmoud Abdel Aziz. It called on the UNHCR to correct the major shortcomings in its staff’s handling of the conditions of refugees and asylum seekers and to carry out its tasks entrusted to it towards the asylum seekers registered with it.