Tripoli authorities respond to accusations of migrant abuse

The Address | Benghazi – Libya

TRIPOLI – Department for Combating Illegal Immigration (DCIM) of the Triboli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) rejected on Friday claims made by Human Rights Watch (HRW) on the mistreatment of migrants in Libya.

HRW’s accusations came in the wake of a decision by French President Emanuel Macron to give six boats to the Tripoli-based Libyan Coast Guard (LCG).

“This is deeply hypocritical,” said the human rights organization, adding that Macron has strongly condemned the abuse of migrants at detention centers in Libya as “crimes against humanity.”

“Providing material support to the LCG while being fully aware of these consequences implicates France’s responsibility for serious human rights violations, and makes France similar to Italy and other countries in the European Union,” it said.

Spokesman for the Tripoli-based Navy Ayoub Qassim rejected the accusations, saying in remarks to the press that representatives from international and humanitarian organizations are always present when rescuing the migrants from boats in the Mediterranean Sea.

Qassim said HRW has crossed the line when criticizing Libyan agencies. He also accused it of not being impartial and of seeking to tarnish Libya’s image.

A few days ago, French Defense Minister Florence Parly announced that Paris would give six boats to the LCG. But HRW said Thursday that “the Coast Guard will use the boats to intercept migrants attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea to safety, and if they catch them, they will place them in arbitrary, indefinite, and abusive detention.”

A DCIM official told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that all migration-related bodies work based on a program that provides care for those held in detention centers.

Many migrants intend to cause chaos, especially those who have been in the centers for long. This could trigger reactions from security guards, the official, who refused to be identified, said.

His statement came in response to the UN refugee agency’s announcement that at least 50 migrants were reportedly injured after they staged a protest that was suppressed inside a detention center in the capital Tripoli.

Asharq Al-Awsat


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