Malnourished Migrants Flee Detention Centre in Abu Salim – Al Marsad

Hundreds of migrants have fled a detention centre in Abu Salim and crowded overnight around a U.N. facility. The migrants said they were denied food for weeks.

[Paris, 31 October 2019] – Around 450 people left Abu Salim detention centre late Tuesday. Two of the migrants, as well as activists, said they were forced to beg for money from families to pay police to buy them food. Those who couldn’t pay went hungry.

The migrants spoke Wednesday on condition of anonymity, fearing for their safety. They walked about 90 minutes through the city of Tripoli, according to Tarik Lamloum, a Libyan activist. The UN refugee agency says the facility is already overcrowded, with about half the 800 people inside arriving informally, including many from another detention centre that was hit last summer by an airstrike. The Libyan government agency that runs the detention centres blocked the migrants from entering, the U.N. said.

The centres for migrants, which are linked to the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA), are rife with abuse and many, especially those in Tripoli, get caught in the crossfire of the country’s conflict. With increased fighting and reports of torture, Europe’s policy of supporting the Libyan coast guard as it intercepts people fleeing Libya has come under growing criticism. Jean-Paul Cavalieri, the UN refugee agency’s chief of mission in Libya, said there was no space for more people inside the facility and that officials were on site to offer options.

“With increased fighting and reports of torture, Europe’s policy of supporting the Libyan coast guard as it intercepts people fleeing Libya has come under growing criticism.”

“The current situation reflects the dire situation faced by many refugees and asylum-seekers in Libya,” he said in a statement.

Source: Associated Press (AP)