Migration to Europe: UN Urges Libya to Close Detention Centers After Deadly Bombing

  • Most of the victims were Africans trying to reach Europe on boats sailing from the Libyan coast to escape poverty and conflict in their country.
  • About 150 migrants were in a dormitory at the Tajoura detention center when an air strike on July 3 killed 50 people, including women and children.
  • Libya has been plagued by violence and division since the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi, who was killed in 2011 after ruling the country for decades.

The United Nations has called for the closure of immigration detention centers in Libya, saying these facilities are unsuitable for shelter. This comes about two weeks after the killing of more than fifty people in an air strike targeting a detention center in the Libyan capital Tripoli.

Fayez Mustafa al-Sarraj (born 1960) is the Chairman of the Presidential Council of Libya and prime minister of the Government of National Accord (GNA) of Libya that was formed as a result of the Libyan Political Agreement signed on 17 December 2015. Since assuming leadership of the GNA, Sarraj has struggled to exert his authority throughout Libya, and the country remains largely fractured between opposing political forces and is generally unstable.

Most of the victims were Africans trying to reach Europe on boats sailing from the Libyan coast to escape poverty and conflict in their country. UNHCR described the facilities at these centers as “appalling.” Libyan authorities are holding thousands of migrants in poor conditions in government-run centers across the country. The air strike, which killed more than 50 Libyan detainees, revealed the danger of staying in those facilities.

UNHCR stressed that these centers should be immediately closed with the release of detainees and their integration into surrounding communities and that they are ready to provide the necessary support. The United Nations has criticized European policies that include the return of migrants rescued in the Mediterranean to Libya, citing criticism that Libya is not safe.

About 150 migrants were in a dormitory at the Tajoura detention center when an air strike on July 3 killed 50 people, including women and children.

The internationally recognized government and forces loyal to General Khalifa Haftar exchanged accusations over the attack. Al-Wifaq, an internationally recognized government led by Fayez al-Sarraj, accused the eastern Libyan forces led by Khalifa Haftar (the Libyan National Army) of launching an air strike on the detention center in Tajoura. The LNA said they were targeting a government camp near the center, alleging that government forces opened fire in response to their attack. A Haftar spokesman was quoted saying that pro-government militias bombed the site.

Field Marshal Khalifa Belqasim Haftar (born c. 1943) is a Libyan-American military officer and the head of the Libyan National Army (LNA), which, under Haftar’s leadership, replaced nine elected municipal councils by military administrators, and as of May 2019, was engaged in the Second Libyan Civil War.

UN officials said the bombing could be a war crime. Libya has been plagued by violence and division since the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi, who was killed in 2011 after ruling the country for decades. The United Nations refugee agency expressed its “deep concern over accounts of the deaths of refugees and migrants.” In a statement, Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) described the incident as “a terrible tragedy that could easily have been avoided.”

Pictures released by Libyan officials show African migrants receiving treatment in a hospital after the strike.”120 migrants were being held in the shelter, which was hit directly,” said Osman Ali, an ambulance spokesman in Tripoli. He added that the estimates available on the victims are “preliminary and may increase.” Rescuers rushed in search of any survivors under the rubble.

It is not yet clear where the planes from the raid belong.  Hafar’s forces announced they would launch heavy raids on targets in Tripoli after the “traditional means” of the war were drained. Its warplanes bombed a pro-government camp near the migrants center, and government forces responded by firing shells.

Only $1/click

Submit Your Ad Here

Doris Mkwaya

I am a journalist, with more than 12 years of experience as a reporter, author, editor, and journalism lecturer." I've worked as a reporter, editor and journalism lecturer, and am very enthusiastic about bringing what I've learned to this site. 

 


Leave a Reply