UNHCR concerned over deteriorated conditions for migrants held in Libyan detention centers

A shot of the living conditions inside a detention centre in Libya. Credit: UN Migration Agency (IOM)

The U.N. refugee agency said on Friday it was gravely concerned about a deterioration in conditions for migrants held in Libyan detention centers that had led to riots and hunger strikes.

An estimated 8,000 migrants are currently held in 18 detention centers linked to the internationally recognized government in Tripoli, according to UNHCR.

“In recent weeks, UNHCR has witnessed a critical worsening in conditions in detention centers, due to the increasing overcrowding and lack of basic living standards,” the agency said in a statement.

“As a consequence, riots and hunger strikes by refugees inside detention centers are taking place, demanding a resolution to their bleak living conditions.

“This has led to a number of serious security incidents, where UNHCR front line staff have been placed at physical risk.”

So far this year 12,174 migrants have landed in Italy from Libya, nearly 87 percent fewer than during the same period in 2017, according to Italian interior ministry statistics.

There are nearly 55,000 refugees and asylum seekers registered in Libya, where they face limited chances of resettlement, according to UNHCR.

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