MSF: Sharp increase of migrants held in detention centers in Misurata & Khoms

The Address | Benghazi – Libya

MISURATA – Over the past two weeks, teams of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), otherwise known as Doctors Without Borders, have observed “a sharp increase in the number of people held in detention centers in Misurata and Khoms in Libya, following a series of disembarkations of people to Libyan shores.”

MSF stated that bringing intercepted or rescued migrants to Libya has caused the population in the detention centers in the area to go from 650 at the beginning of the year to 930 today.

On January 21st, 106 people disembarked in Khoms from a commercial ship. The following day, another group of 144 people also rescued by a merchant ship disembarked in Misurata.

“Among the 250 people who disembarked in Misrata and Khoms, there are women, some of whom are pregnant, babies and young children under seven years old. They were transferred to detention centres in the area.” MSF stated.

“The people detained have virtually no access to open air space and little access to clean water and food. Food is insufficient and totally inadequate to meet the nutritional needs of people with serious medical conditions, children and pregnant women.”

“Among the people recently disembarked, some are suffering from malnutrition, hypothermia, or severe diarrhoea.”

According to MSF, “detention centres in Tripoli are also seeing an increase in population. Nearly all detention centres are poorly insulated against the winter weather, resulting in increased illnesses associated with prolonged cold weather exposure.”

MSF stressed that “Libya is not a safe place to return refugees and migrants: the levels of violence they are exposed to while in the country are well documented.”

“It is beyond cynicism that the EU and its Member States continue to implement policies based on intercepting and forcibly returning vulnerable people to detention in Libya, while also continuing to deliberately obstruct lifesaving search and rescue vessels which are desperately needed in the Central Mediterranean,” says Sam Turner, in charge of MSF activities in Tripoli and Mediterranean search and rescue operations.


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