UN officials call for ending arbitrary detention in Libya

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugee Filippo Grandi and Director of International Organization for Migration António Vitorino called for putting an end to the arbitrary detention for refugees in Libya and releasing the detainees in shelters, according to a joint statement on Tuesday.

“Commercial vessels, who are increasingly being relied upon to conduct rescue operations, must not be requested to transfer rescued people to the Libyan Coast Guard, nor directed to disembark them in Libya, which is not a port of safety,” Grandi and Vitorino said.

The international community should put permanent peace in Libya on its top priorities and use its influences to try to bring the rival parties together in a dialogue to find a political solution for the crisis, Grandi and Vitorino added.

“The violence in Tripoli in recent weeks has made the situation more desperate than ever, and the need for action critical,” they stressed.

As for the disagreements among the European countries on redistributing illegal migrants rescued at the sea among them, they said the disagreements led to the end of official Mediterranean Sea patrols earlier this year, as Italy rejected to receive those who are rescued.

One of the Mediterranean Patrols that have been threatened by the disagreements is the Operation of Sophia, the European naval mission led by Rome to fight illegal immigration.

Italy’s far-right Interior Minister Matteo Salvini was cited in Italian media complaining that people rescued by Sophia are only offloaded in Italy.

“No one should be returned to detention centres in Libya after being intercepted or rescued at sea”, they pointed out to the risks the refugees receive in the detention centres including maltreatment, lack of basic needs and human trafficking.


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