Fighting in Libya causes desperate situations for refugees in detention centres

Fighting broke out around the Tripoli area in Libya this week, leaving refugees in desperate situations. After a militia group failed to withdraw from the Qasr Bin Gashir area south of Tripoli, the protection force of the UN-backed government attacked. Other clashes in the area threatened the unstable ceasefire as well. Reports from the Bin Gashir detention centre, run by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), state that the refugees have been without food and water for two days.

Reports from a group of Eritrean refugees in the Bin Gashir detention centre suggest that their situation is heavily affected by the clashes. The ceasefire of September 2018 has not stopped clashes from occurring. The refugees state that even without the clashes, they have little clothes, food and water. The group includes pregnant women and children.

Some of the people in the detention centre have been in Libya for over two years, experiencing torture for ransom and sexual violence. The refugees hoped that registering in the UNHCR centre would lead to their evacuation, but they are still trapped with little resources. Many other refugees and migrants are still trapped in human trafficking warehouses in Libya where they are being tortured for ransom.

At the conference “We the People, Peace in the Horn & the Safety and Future of the Eritrean People”, which was held with over 200 representatives and members of the Eritrean diaspora in December 2018, a statement was published calling for urgent action to evacuate refugees from detention centres and torture warehouses in Libya.