7 March 2019

Libya: Police Crush Asylum Seekers' Protests

Tripoli — AROUND 50 asylum seekers have been injured after police used excessive force against the individuals protesting against detention under horrible conditions in Libya.

The foreign nationals staged protests at the Sikka detention centre, where they have been detained for months with no prospects of solutions.

Some 400 national protesters consisted of individuals from Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia and Sudan voiced their concerns.

Shabia Mantoo, spokesperson of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), said the agency was troubled by reports of the use of force against protesting asylum seekers.

"UNHCR is concerned about the situation of prolonged detention that many refugees are facing in Libya," Mantoo said.

Currently, there are 5,700 refugees and migrants in detention, of whom 4 100 are assessed to be of concern to UNHCR and may have international protection needs.

UNHCR has reiterated its calls for an end to detention in the North African country and has pledged its readiness to support Libyan authorities to find alternatives to detention.

Last December, UNHCR opened a Gathering and Departure Facility in the capital Tripoli to speed-up the processing for solutions and provide an alternative to detention.

On Monday, evacuated 128 refugees to Niger, the third evacuation out of Libya this year, bringing the total of those evacuated out of Libya to 3 303.

"UNHCR is reaffirming its calls on the international community for additional solutions for refugees in detention," Mantoo said.

Refugees, asylum seekers and migrants hopeful of reaching Europe are caught up in the civil war ravaging Libya.

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