UN calls for no return of migrants to Libya

UN calls for no return of migrants to Libya

Paris _ Agencies

Refugees and asylum-seekers rescued in the Mediterranean must not be returned to Libya because they will face "serious abuses," the UN refugee Agency (UNHCR) said in the United Nations.

In an update on its official stance on the repatriation of refugees to Libya, the UNHCR warned of such a move recently proposed by Italian Interior Minister Mateo Salvini in the crisis between Italy and the European Union (EU) countries on the influx of refugees.

"Insecurity and lack of governance have allowed for the flourishing of illegal activities such as corruption, human smuggling and human trafficking, which increase instability in the country," the commission said this month.

She said the proposals to set up centres to look into the files of asylum seekers in Libya or other North African countries, according to an agreement reached by EU leaders in June, did not change their position.

The UNHCR announced this week that some 1,600 people have been killed while trying to reach Europe by sea since the beginning of this year.

According to estimates, 679 000 migrants registered to live in Libya in June 2018, although the actual number could be close to one million.

Those rescued by Libyan coastguard vessels are held in detention centres for a designated term. Some 8,000 people are currently in the centres, according to UNHCR.

UNHCR stated that "in all facilities, conditions of detention do not conform to international standards" and "refugees/" are highly vulnerable to torture and other forms of ill-treatment, including rape and other forms of sexual violence, forced labour and extortion. "