Human rights lawyer Giulia Tranchina posted a plea on social media to immediately gain access to and evacuate refugees that were severely abused in the Libyan Triq al Sikka detention centre. According to the post, hundreds of Eritrean and Ethiopian refugees were severely beaten by Libyan police. A small group is still being held in the centre and is told that the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) will no longer be allowed access to them.
Giulia Tranchina is in touch with the group of refugees, who have reported that they were beaten with metal rods and batons by the Libyan police, after the refugees refused to hand over their phones. The phones are the only point of contact with the outside world, but it is often dangerous to use them, as they may be used to expose the conditions and abuse within Libyan detention centres and trafficking warehouses.
The messages by Giulia Tranchina reveals that many of the refugees were severely injured and the majority was transferred to other detention centres. A small group is still being held in Triq al Sikka, with only one phone between them – they have been told that the UNHCR will no longer have access to them, which would mean that they cannot be relocated.
Giulia Tranchina calls for the UNHCR and the International Organisation on Migration (IOM), as well as other international organisations, to seek urgent access to the refugees and calls for EU member states to offer to relocate them.
This situation follows a report by Channel 4 that shows refugees being sold to human traffickers by Libyan police, after which they are severely tortured for ransom.