Fri. Apr 19th, 2024

As the United Nations persists in its document of abuse, torture, disappearances and dire conditions in Libyan detention centres in Switzerland, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has called on the international communities, including the European Union to find an alternative safe disembarkation mechanism for migrants rescued fleeing Libya by boat.

The call was made after about 200 migrants were returned to Tripoli, hours after the city’s main port was heavily shelled on Tuesday 18th February, 2020.

“Libya cannot wait. It is time for concrete action to ensure lives rescued at sea are taken to ports of safety, and to end the system of arbitrary detention,” says IOM Libya Chief of Mission Federico Sod.

“There is a need for increased comprehensive and state-led search and rescue capacity. A predictable and quick disembarkation mechanism, whereby Mediterranean states take equal responsibility in providing a port of safety to people rescued at sea, should be established as a matter of urgency,” he added.

At least 1,700 migrants have been intercepted or rescued and returned to Libya by the coast guard since the beginning of the new year.

Over 3,000 others arrived in Italy and Malta, many of whom were rescued by NGO search and rescue vessels.

The lifesaving efforts of NGO vessels operating in the Mediterranean should be recognized and any restrictions and delays on disembarkation must be lifted.

The humanitarian situation in Libya continues to deteriorate as the conflict enters its tenth month. Over 2,000 migrants remain detained in deplorable conditions, amid access challenges for humanitarian workers.

The United Nations continues to document abuse, torture, disappearances and dire conditions in Libyan detention centres. It is unacceptable for the current detention system to continue despite repeated calls to dismantle it and find alternative solutions that guarantee at least a minimum degree of safety and security.

Recent developments pose even greater threats to the safety of thousands of migrants. A new approach to the situation in Libya and the central Mediterranean is needed. Concern must now be translated into action to avoid further tragedies bound to occur, should the status quo continue

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