from AHMED ZAYED in Tripoli, Libya
TRIPOLI, (CAJ News) – TUBERCOLOSIS has broken out and cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) suspected at overcrowded detention centres holding migrants recently arrested in Libya.
More than 5 000 men, women and children are detained during what authorities have described as a security campaign against undocumented migration and drug trafficking.
The International Rescue Committee (IRC) has reported an outbreak of diseases amid grave mistreatment, violence and a lack of access to basic services.
“Our teams have already identified cases of Tuberculosis amongst those recently arbitrarily detained, while there have also been suspected cases of COVID-19,” said Tom Garofalo, the IRC’s Country Director in Libya.
Detention centres in the North African country have been taking place in much larger numbers than their capacity.
The largest, Al Mabani, is currently holding more than 4 000 people – four times its official capacity.
Shara Zawaya, designated for women and children only, has increased from 71 people at the beginning of September to more than 520.
Among these are more than 175 children, including 47 babies.
“With more raids continuing, and the numbers of vulnerable migrants detained likely to rise, it is only a matter of time before the detention centers reach a breaking point,” Garofalo said.
IRC has urged authorities to immediately release the most vulnerable, particularly women and children, pending the release of all those arbitrarily detained.
– CAJ News