The International Organization of Migration has reported on the deplorable conditions of detention camps in Libya. The organization has demanded that some be closed immediately.
A reported 400,000 migrants are currently stranded in Libya, although unofficial estimates say they are between 800,000 and one million, according to Federico Soda, director of the coordination center for the Mediterranean of the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
There are around 30 detention centers in the country, hosting some 8,000 people in "terrible" condition and they "should be closed immediately," Soda told the Italian parliamentary committee for the implementation of the Schengen agreement.
"We were able to visit only 20 of these centers," he elaborated, adding that the conditions were terrible. " We imagine that those we were unable to see are even worse. We are working to improve them but we would like to see them closed," the IOM official said.
The IOM is about to receive funding worth 18 million euros from Italy, according to Soda. Out of this amount, at least 2 million would be used to improve conditions in the detention centers, 8 million would go towards voluntary repatriation assistance and the remaining 8 million would be used for the stabilization of southern Libya, he added. The funding would be disbursed over a period of three years.
The IOM official also said that the organization would receive additional bilateral funding from other countries. "The problem is not lack of funding, but that we are asked to carry out activities that we are unable to realize due to conditions on the ground," Soda said.
The IOM representative said that in 2016, the organization carried out over 110,000 assisted voluntary repatriations from Europe, including more than 50,000 from Germany alone. "Repatriations from Italy, from July 2016 until today, were only 500 while 3,600 were carried out between 2008 and 2015 they were 3,600," he said.