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Spike in numbers of migrants detained in Libya

  • Published on
    December 15, 2021
  • Category:
    Human Trafficking
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Tens of thousands of migrants attempting to flee horrific conditions in Libya have been returned to detention centers in the country this year according to a new report.

A sharp increase

Figures show 10,000 men, women and children have been held in detention centers in October this year, ten times the number in January. Furthermore, the Libyan Coastguard has intercepted and forcibly returned over 28,000 people attempting to cross the Mediterranean between January and November.

These numbers are alarming given the notoriously inhumane conditions in Libyan detention centers where people are subjected to slavery, abuse, torture and extortion amongst other egregious human rights abuses.

Who is behind this?

In November a report by Ian Urbina in the New Yorker was the latest to expose the extent to which the European Union is complicit in systematically subjecting migrants and refugees to indefinite detention in Libya which, for many, is a death sentence.

InfoMigrants reports:

Over the summer, the UN secretary general and UNSMIL (the UN mission in Libya) once again denounced how migrants detained in the centers continue to be subjected to torture, violence, and abuse, including insufficient food and a lack of assistance.

The report stated that the Italian think tank Istituto per gli Studi di Politica Internazionale (ISPI) had monitored the beginning and end of 67 incidents of ‘stalled’ ships with migrants onboard that had been rescued in the Mediterranean between 2018 and October 22, 2021. “Following hardship, wastes of time and resources, tensions and performative political propaganda, 49 out of the 67 ended in Italy.”

Evidence continues to build

The evidence is damning. The European Union must take responsibility for perpetuating slavery in Libya and stop funding the Libyan Coastguard. Ahead of elections in Libya, keep this issue in the public eye by joining the global campaign demanding action from the European Union.

Sign the petition today.


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Monica Burns
2 years ago
Reply to  Brid Og Norrby

Hello. Thank you for your interest in taking action on this troubling issue. Currently, our community is gathering signatures for a petition that calls on the E.U. to stop supporting this exploitative migration management system. You can sign here:

Brid Og Norrby
Brid Og Norrby
2 years ago

Is there an email campaign that we could send to our MEP’s on this subject?

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