Tripoli — EUROPEAN UNION (EU) foreign ministers have gathered in Belgium on Monday amid calls for governments to urge Libya to close detention centres housing thousands of migrants and refugees.
It is estimated a total detainee population of 5 800, including 3 800 people are held in migrant detention centres close to conflict areas.
Human Rights Watch (HRW), Amnesty International, and the European Council on Refugees and Exiles called on EU ministers to make a commitment to facilitate the evacuation of detainees to safe places, including outside of Libya and to EU member states.
Judith Sunderland, associate Europe and Central Asia director at HRW, said expressions of outrage over dire conditions and dangers to detainees amid fighting in Tripoli were hollow without urgent life-saving measures to get people out of harm.
"EU governments should offer concrete support to Libyan authorities to close all migrant detention centers and take immediate action to help evacuate those most vulnerable and at risk," she said.
Conditions at detention facilities under control of the Government of National Accord, based in Tripoli, have deteriorated since rebel forces under General Khalifa Hiftar began their assault in early April.
An airstrike on the Tajoura detention centre, located inside a military compound southeast of Tripoli, killed 53 people and wounded at least 130 on the night of July 2
Two detainees of the same facility were injured in a previous attack in May when an airstrike hit 100 metres from the centre.