Security Council Demands Closure of Migrant Detention Centers in Libya

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The UN Security Council has called on the Libyan authorities to take urgent steps toward shutting down migrant detention centers.

According to Resolution No. 2647, the Council stressed the importance of addressing the root causes of migrant smuggling, and human trafficking. It welcomed the work of the United Nations Support Mission to Libya (UNSMIL), in supporting the provision of humanitarian assistance to refugees and migrants.

It also called to alleviate the suffering of all people in Libya, by working to improve the level of public services provided to citizens across the country, and facilitate full, safe, and unimpeded humanitarian access.

UN investigators have recently revealed once more that migrants and refugees detained in Libya face serious abuse, with women especially facing sexual violence. They highlighted how women are forced to submit to rape in exchange for food. It also mentions the discovery of “dozens” of mass graves with migrants’ bodies.

The UN’s Independent Fact-Finding Mission on Libya issued a new report, highlighting grave crimes against humanity being perpetrated in the country. It specified that migrant women are often forced to endure some of the harshest abuse.

The report stated that UNSMIL has reasonable grounds to believe that “crimes against humanity, including murder, torture, imprisonment, rape, enforced disappearance, and other inhumane acts have been committed in several places of detention in Libya since 2016.”

Authorities, human traffickers, and other entities routinely detain migrants in Libya. It has become a major departure point for tens of thousands of people, mostly from sub-Saharan Africa, as they attempt to reach Europe. Officials, however, have repeatedly denied such accusations.

An overall sense of anarchy has reigned in the country since Muammar Gaddafi was overthrown and killed in 2011. The country has become a source of opportunity and profit for organized human traffickers.