Hundreds missing after detention in Libya

African migrants continue to drown in the Mediterranean Sea en-route to Europe

African migrants continue to drown in the Mediterranean Sea en-route to Europe. File photo

from AHMED ZAYED in Tripoli, Libya
TRIPOLI, (CAJ News) THERE is alarm over the 600 migrants that have been declared missing in a Libyan detention centre following their rescue from the Mediterranean Sea since the beginning of the year.

They were returned from the sea to a facility in troubled capital, Tripoli.

The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) expressed concern at the whereabouts of the migrants reportedly missing from the facility run by the government through the Ministry of Interior.

“IOM is very concerned about the safety of people detained there. We have received no response from the Libyan authorities who were asked to clarify the fate of those reported missing (600 migrants),” the organisation stated.

It raised concern that 112 migrants that Maltese authorities rescued at sea since the beginning of the week have been returned to Tripoli and detained at the detention centre in question.

This includes 49 migrants that were returned to Libya after becoming stranded in Maltese waters when the wooden boat’s engine stopped working.

IOM denounced the alleged breach of international maritime law and appealed to the European Union (EU) and the international community for immediate and urgent action to end the return of vulnerable people to Libya.

The agency advocated for the upholding of the principle of non-refoulement.

IOM renewed its call to the international community to establish a clear and quick disembarkation mechanism to end the return and detention of vulnerable people in Libya.

Libya’s Coast Guard has returned over 2 500 people to the North African country this year.

A civil war is tearing the North African country apart following ouster and subsequent execution of former president Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

– CAJ News

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