Amnesty International denounced an operation that took place October 1 in Libya, in which security forces and militias in Tripoli used illegal lethal arms and other forms of violence in an unprecedented roundup of more than 5,000 men, women and children from Sub-Saharan Africa, who are now being held in horrid conditions.
Security forces and militias in Tripoli have used unlawful lethal force and other violence in an unprecedented roundup of over 5,000 men, women and children from Sub-Saharan Africa and are holding them in horrid conditions where torture and sexual abuse are rampant, said Amnesty International in a statement released Saturday (October 9).
"On 1 October, armed men from militias and security forces affiliated with Libya's Interior Ministry violently broke into homes and temporary shelters in the Gargaresh area in Tripoli, home to a sizable population of refugees and migrants, firing rounds of live ammunition, damaging belongings and stealing valuables," the organization said.
"Terrified migrants and refugees, including several registered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), were then transferred to detention centres in Tripoli, where they are denied regular and confidential access to UNHCR and other humanitarian agencies and subjected to torture and other ill treatment."
Amnesty International said during the operation at least one person died and 15 were wounded. It said those arrested were transferred to various detention centers in the Libyan capital, where they were subjected to beatings, violence and sexual assault. Six detainees were reportedly killed in the subsequent days during an escape attempt.
"We urge the Libyan authorities to immediately release all those arbitrarily detained solely on the basis of their migration status and to launch investigations into all incidents of unlawful use of force, torture and sexual violence," said Diana Eltahawy, Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.
"In the interim, authorities should ensure that those in detention are treated humanely, held in conditions that meet international standards and granted unimpeded access to UNHCR and other humanitarian actors without delay," Eltahawy said.
Amnesty International said it examined evidence proving the allegations, including videos and photographs published online by witnesses.
IOM says nearly 10,000 trapped in Libya
"There are nearly 10,000 migrants trapped in difficult conditions in Libyan detention centres," the International Organization for Migration (IOM) tweeted Saturday. It called on Libyan authorities to "stop the excessive use of force, put an end to arbitrary detention and allow for the immediate resumption of humanitarian flights."
IOM condemned the "senseless killing" of six migrants Friday and "the use of real bullets against migrants protesting the terrible conditions in detention."