Libyan Human Rights Committee Calls on GNA to Take Action to Prevent COVID-19 Outbreak in Jails

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On Sunday, the National Committee for Human Rights in Libya, called on the Ministry of Interior (MoI) of the Government of National Accord (GNA) to launch sterilization campaigns for temporary detention centres, prisons, hosting centres for migrants, refugees and asylum seekers. These campaigns are aimed to curb the outbreak of the COVID-19 epidemic.

In a statement, the Committee said that it had also directed the MoI to provide necessary medical supplies, face masks, sterilizers, and medical gloves for security personnel and prisoners, in these centres and prisons. It indicated that this comes in anticipation of the spread of the deadly virus among prisoners and is also in the interest of public health.

Notably, Libya’s Justice Ministry decided on the 31st of March, to release 450 prisoners in a bid to protect them against the virus’ spread.

Human Rights Watch applauded the move as a “positive first step”, adding that “authorities should do more to mitigate the risks of a major COVID-19 outbreak”.

Libyan authorities “need to be prepared to limit the spread of the virus in overcrowded detention facilities and shelters for displaced people”, HRW said in a statement.

Libya has been plagued by conflict since the 2011 overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi. Both the eastern-based government, and the GNA have taken preventative measures against the spread of the virus, including closing schools, some businesses, markets, and even private clinics