Libyan Coast Guards have intercepted around 1,000 migrants in the Mediterranean and returned them to the country after they tried to cross the dangerous ocean to Europe.
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has once again denounced the longstanding practice in light of the documented abuse and exploitation that await returnees in Libyan detention camps.
The migrants who tried to cross the Mediterranean Sea toward Europe from Libya were intercepted by the Libya’s coast guard and returned to the north African country, located some 300 kilometers (185 miles) from the Italian coast, according to the IOM.
On Sunday, November 1, the IOM reported that Libyan navy recovered 144 migrants in the Mediterranean. The next day, 413 people were intercepted and returned to the country while on Tuesday, November 3, the another 378 migrants were intercepted.
Hundreds of “mothers, fathers, sons and daughters, were brought back into a cycle of exploitation and abuse that they were trying to flee,” Safa Msehli, spokesperson for the UN agency, said on Twitter.
Nearly 1,000 migrants have been intercepted and returned to #Libya in the past three days.
Most end up in detention where the UN has been documenting dire conditions and horrific abuses.
We reiterate that the system of arbitrary detention must be abolished. pic.twitter.com/osLN8bkevz
— Safa Msehli (@msehlisafa) November 4, 2020
IOM staff was present at the port to “provide urgently needed assistance” to the migrants, IOM said, also via Twitter.
According to Msehli, most of the migrants were then transferred to Libyan detention centers where “dire conditions” of abuse, extortion and exploitation await them.
🚨 UNHCR secured last week the release from detention of 141 refugee men, women & children.
They were held at Suq Alkhamees detention centre, 140 Km East of Tripoli, some of them for over a year.
UNHCR provided them with relief items, food packages and medical check ups. pic.twitter.com/ubNVSUwZCa
— UNHCR Libya (@UNHCRLibya) October 27, 2020
“People are thrown back into the same horrific conditions they are trying to flee,” Msehli said.
According to IOM and UNHCR insiders, almost 3,200 people are being held in eleven detention centers in Libya. This includes many refugees fleeing armed conflicts and persecution.