Zawiya migrant detention center, 30 km from Tripoli | Credit: ANSA/Zuhair Abusrewil
Zawiya migrant detention center, 30 km from Tripoli | Credit: ANSA/Zuhair Abusrewil

Libya's foreign minister has said that Amnesty International's accusations made to the EU on the torture of migrants in the North African country are ''exaggerated''. He added that Libya was grateful to Italy for its help.

The foreign minister of the Government of National Accord (GNA), Mohamed Taher Siala, said Wednesday that an Amnesty International report on widespread torture of migrants in Libya was highly exaggerated. ''The situation on immigration in Libya is very complicated,'' he added, and ''we are pleased with the help we are receiving from Italy to improve conditions in detention centers.'' 

The minister's comments came after an Amnesty report was released on Tuesday that stated that ''European governments are knowingly complicit in the torture and abuse of tens of thousands of refugees and migrants detained by Libyan immigration authorities in appalling conditions in Libya''. 

'Anti-immigration starts from southern border control' 

''The struggle against clandestine immigration,'' Siala said, ''must begin from the southern border of our country. There needs to be a network of electronic control and cooperation from Africa countries, possibly through the African Union. In the south, we have a 4,000-kilometer-long border, while the Mediterranean coast is 2,000 meters long. To patrol the borders we would need the Chinese army.'' 

He underscored that there are 31,000 people in the 42 detentions camps across the country and that ''we ensure food and healthcare assistance but the numbers are rising and we will not be able to manage without the help of the Arab Union.'' Siala said that Libya ''is not willing'' to open more detention centers. ''On the issue of the rumors of human exploitation and the use of slavery, a commission is already working on the matter. It is against our religion, our culture, and if those behind this emerge, they will be punished in accordance with our laws,'' the minister stressed.

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