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UN: Rape and torture of migrants critical in Libya

Image of refugees and migrants on September 19, 2016 [Intimenews/Manolis Lagoutaris/via REUTERS]
Image of refugees and migrants on September 19, 2016 [Intimenews/Manolis Lagoutaris/via REUTERS]

A United Nations report released this week has criticised the levels of rape, torture and enslavement migrants face when arriving in Libya. “The situation of migrants in Libya is a human rights crisis. The breakdown in the justice system has led to a state of impunity, in which armed groups, criminal gangs, smugglers and traffickers control the flow of migrants through the country,” the report said.

The UN called on Libya to do more to improve the dire conditions migrants find themselves in whilst in detention centres and implicated government officials, smugglers and armed groups in the widespread abuses.

“The United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) has also received credible information that some members of state institutions and some local officials have participated in the smuggling and trafficking process,” it explained in the report. Libya’s failure towards the safety of migrants using its coastal borders to travel to Europe was also blasted by Sea-Watch after Libyan forces were accused of heavy-handedness after a boat was attacked killing four people on board.

The report also criticised the human-trafficking of migrants who are often bought or sold and forced to work in poor labour conditions to cover the expenses for their journey. Around 168,000 migrants have arrived in Italy from Libya this year with around 4,164 recorded deaths of those making the treacherous sea journey.

Presidency Council head, Feyaz Serraj, is currently in Malta meeting with its Prime Minister Joseph Muscat to discuss terrorism and migration.

Meanwhile, Libya was rocked this week by reports of a woman raped by militia groups in Tripoli with footage posted online. Head of the Libyan National Army, Field Marshal Khalifa Hafter, called on the Libyan National Army to be ready to liberate Tripoli.

In what is believed to be a reaction to the rape, Hafter has stated how “deeply upset” he was by it and how he had been affected by it personally.

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