Libya rejects NGO allegations of increased violence against refugees

The Libyan Interior Minister Khaled Mazen has rejected recent reports from various human rights NGOs that accused the Libyan security forces of using excessive force against immigrants.

The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) this Sunday condemned the Libyan authorities’ stepping up their “violent repression” against the refugee population, to which Mazen added that the situation was “in a human and professional way”.

Libya rejects NGO allegations of increased violence against refugees
Libya rejects NGO allegations of increased violence against refugees

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) mission in Libya, together with NRC, highlighted the case of six migrants who fled an overcrowded detention center in the capital and were killed by guards at the facilities.

In this regard, the Libyan minister defended that “there was no mistreatment or closed doors in the center, and this explains the escape of hundreds of migrants from the facilities”, although he admitted the death of one person but gave him “the onslaught”, the ” occurred during the flight process “.

“Rumors that no Interior Ministry member killed an immigrant are not true and the ministry had previously released many vulnerable groups, including mothers and children,” Mazen said.

For example, they convey from the Libyan authorities the idea that the tension in the centers can be traced back to conflicts between residents, while from the IOM they point out that “overcrowding” is the cause.

“So far, three African ambassadors have visited the migrants and they have been guaranteed the safety of their citizens while in detention (…) The Ministry of Interior’s Human Rights Office is actively working on the rights of migrants and it is not true that the office is closed” remarked the minister.

Finally, Mazen insisted that his ministry had been transparent in handling the immigration file and did not deny the possibility of “individual error”, but stressed that it was determined to take the necessary action.

For its part, the IOM not only confirmed the deaths of the six migrants on Saturday, but a further 24 were injured by the shooting of the guards. According to the NRC, seven of these needed urgent medical care if their life was in danger.

The incident took place at the overcrowded Al Mabani detention center, which was home to more than 3,400 people at the time of the uprising, including 356 women and 144 children, most of whom were arrested during the wave of arrests by Libyan authorities last week of the migrant population of the Gergaresh district .

“This new and frightening reality for migrants and refugees has been ignored by the international community, especially by European states that have provided assistance to the Libyan authorities,” said Libyan National Director of the NRC, Dax Roque, referring to the agreement with which Libya obliged to act as a “buffer state” against the wave of migration to Europe in exchange for economic aid.

“The international community must recognize its role in fueling this latest crisis in Libya and ensure that the Libyan authorities commit to ending violence against migrants and refugees in the country,” concluded Roque.

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