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UN appeals for urgent release of migrants trapped in Tripoli

The Address | Benghazi – Libya

TRIPOLI – The United Nations on Friday urgently appealed for the release and evacuation of more than 1,500 detained refugees and migrants caught in the crossfire of escalating fighting between the Libyan National Army (LNA) and militias affiliated with the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA).

“These are people in the most vulnerable and dangerous of circumstances. They have fled conflict or persecution in their own countries only to be trapped as conflict engulfs them again,” said the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi.

“The risks to their lives are growing by the hour. They must be urgently brought to safety. Simply put, this is a matter of life or death.”

Detention centers that are in proximity to the fighting include the Ain Zara, Qasr bin Ghashir and the Abu Sleim facilities, all located south of Tripoli.

This week, UNHCR has been trying to secure the transfer of detained refugees from these detention centers to safer locations, including to its Gathering and Departure Facility (GDF) in the center of Tripoli.

To date, only one UNHCR-facilitated relocation of 150 refugees from the Ain Zara detention center to the GDF has been possible.

UNHCR reiterated that “Libya is a dangerous place for refugees and migrants, and that those rescued and intercepted at sea should not be returned there.”

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