Number of detained Refugees and Migrants Soars

From Amnesty International:

A surge in migrants and refugees intercepted at sea by the Libyan authorities in the past two months has seen at least 2,600 people transferred to squalid detention centres where they face torture and extortion, Amnesty International said today.

Last month alone, the Libyan Coast Guard intercepted 1,485 women, men and children at sea and brought them back to Libya, taking the total number of those intercepted to almost 5,000 in the first four months of this year, according to the International Organisation for Migration.

At least 7,000 migrants and refugees are now languishing in Libyan detention centres where abuse is rife and food and water in short supply. This is a sharp increase from March when there were 4,400 detained migrants and refugees, according to Libyan officials.

Amnesty has stressed that European governments are complicit in the abuses suffered by those detained in Libya by actively supporting the Libyan authorities in stopping sea crossings and sending people back to Libyan detention centres.

Since late 2016, EU countries - particularly Italy - have implemented a series of measures to close off the migratory route through Libya and across the Mediterranean, including by increasing the Libyan Coast Guard’s capacity to intercept migrants and refugees.

Italy and other European countries have provided the Libyan Coast Guard with equipment, including at least four speedboats, as well as with training and other forms of support. Earlier this year, the Italian Coast Guard began handing over the coordination of rescue operations in international waters near Libya to the Libyan Coast Guard - a move made possible by support provided by Italian Navy ships and personnel stationed in Libya.

Once intercepted, migrants and refugees are transferred to detention centres run by Libya’s Department for Combatting Illegal Migration. These centres have become infamous for holding migrants and refugees in indefinite detention and subjecting them to serious human rights violations.

More here.

(Source: Amnesty International)

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