Injured migrants from the detention center in Tajoura, near Tripoli, which was hit by an airstrike |PHOTO:ANSA/Zuhair Abusrewil
Injured migrants from the detention center in Tajoura, near Tripoli, which was hit by an airstrike |PHOTO:ANSA/Zuhair Abusrewil

The UN Migration Agency (IOM), following the migrant killing at the Tajoura detention center in Libya, said 3,000 migrants and refugees are still arbitrarily detained in and around Tripoli.

About 3,000 migrants and refugees, including the victims at Tajoura, remain arbitrarily detained inside and around Tripoli in conditions that can only be described as inhumane, said the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in a statement. "Moreover, migrants and refugees face increasing risks as clashes intensify nearby. These centers must be closed," the IOM said. 

'1,500 refugees relocated from centers near combat'

"The ongoing conflict in the Libyan capital has forced nearly 100,000 Libyans to flee their homes," a spokesperson with the IOM added. It said UNHCR with partners that include the IOM has relocated more than 1,500 refugees from detention centers near the combat zones to safer areas. 

It has assisted in the departure of more than 5,000 vulnerable individuals returning to 30 countries of origin in Africa and Asia. Paolo Naso, coordinator of Mediterranean Hope, the migrant and refugee program from the Federation of Evangelical Churches in Italy (FCEI) said humanitarian corridors from Libya are needed immediately. "The attack on the detention center in Libya and the more than 40 victims who were killed require a humanitarian intervention that we have been calling urgent and a priority for some time: [that is to say] the opening of a European humanitarian corridor from Libya," Naso clarified.

"There needs to be 50,000 visas as soon as possible for vulnerable people being held in these centers, which even institutional sources define as 'true concentration camps,'" he said. "We are calling on the Italian government to speed up the process to help these refugees access legal and safe protection outside of Libya." Naso added that two members of the government, Prime Minister Conte and the Deputy Foreign Minister Del Re had already expressed specific interest during a public meeting on Monday in Italy's lower house of parliament. Naso continued:"We hope that the government starts European talks, as soon as possible, with this objective [in mind], and creates a working group to involve the churches and other associations available for collaboration."

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