On Tuesday, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) announced that it had secured the release of 141 refugees. This was in coordination with the relevant Libyan authorities.
The UNHCR added that the refugees were held at Souq Al-Khamees detention centre, 140km east of Tripoli. A number of prisoners were detained for over a year. The international organisation noted that it had provided them with relief items, food packages, and medical check-ups.
Almost 3,200 people are being held in eleven official detention centres in Libya, according to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), and UNHCR sources. This includes refugees fleeing armed conflicts, and persecution.
According to a UNHCR report, the resumption of flights was evidence that despite the threat of COVID-19, evacuations from Libya were possible. Although these required joint efforts, shared expertise, and medical protocols in place guaranteeing safe transfers.
It reiterated that it continued to advocate with governments to provide more resettlement locations, as well as other long-term solutions to enable more vulnerable refugees and asylum seekers to leave Libya.
The agency called on Libyan authorities to release all asylum seekers, and for an end to their arbitrary detention.