United Nations Reiterates Call To Close Migrant Detention Centers In Libya

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On Thursday, the United Nations reiterated its call to close migrant detention centers in Libya. This coincided with the first anniversary of the attack on the Tajura detention center, where at least 52 migrants were killed and 87 wounded.

In a statement released by the United Nations Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), it stressed the urgent need to close all migrant detention centers in Libya, release migrants and asylum-seekers, while providing protection and help.

Libya is currently battling the global COVID-19 pandemic. The living conditions in the detention centers are extremely poor, adding a further risk for migrants of contracting the virus.

The attack in Tajoura is considered a war crime, according to the Mission. It added that it violated international law by not taking all possible measures to protect civilians in areas that are legitimate military targets.

The Mission claimed that the indefinite detention of migrants was arbitrary. It expressed concern about the more than 5,000 asylum-seekers intercepted at sea this year and returned to Libya.

UNSMIL noted there were still reports of extra-judicial killings, torture, sexual violence, arbitrary detention, and enforced disappearances, as well as migrant trafficking and sale in Libya.

These may constitute crimes against humanity and war crimes. It called on the Libyan authorities to investigate all crimes that violate international humanitarian law and international human rights law, and hold accountable those responsible.