Population of migrants in Libya detention doubles

from AHMED ZAYED in Tripoli, Libya
TRIPOLI, (CAJ News) – THE number of migrants detained in Libyan prisons after failed moves to Europe has almost doubled to more than 9 300 over the past year.

This follows an alarming rise in the number of refugees and migrants intercepted at sea.

The total of migrants in official detention centres had dropped five-fold to 5 500 in 2007 largely due to efforts to accelerate the repatriation of migrants and the closure of detention centres.

There are no figures available for the number of migrants in informal detention centres run by militias or smugglers. Violations are rife in official and unofficial detention facilities.

Since the beginning of the year, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) has returned some 10 950 stranded migrants from Libya through its Voluntary Humanitarian Return (VHR) programme as the number of detainees rises alarmingly.

A majority of the migrants (9 636) returned home to countries in Central and West Africa on IOM charter flights while a group of 325 people returned to East Africa and the Horn of Africa. The remainder returned to North Africa and Asia.

The VHR programme was launched in 2016 as part of the European Union-IOM joint initiative on migrant protection and reintegration.

Libya remains a transit and destination point for migrants looking to a better life in Europe, via unseaworthy boats in the Mediterranean.

This is despite the North African country suffering a civil war after the overthrow of longtime leader, Muammar Gadaffi, in 2011.
– CAJ News

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