6 November 2015

According to UNHCR, no asylum seeker or migrant should be returned to Libya, including people rescued at sea and those who are not eligible for international protection. Returns would expose migrants to widespread violations of human rights and humanitarian law, including abuses, torture and ill treatment, especially against asylum seekers and refugees.

Libya criminalises irregular entry, stay, or departure from the country. As a result, thousands asylum seekers and refugees, including women and children are detained for indefinite periods in abusive conditions. During detention, asylum seekers and migrants routinely face torture and persecutions.  Many women and girls have been sexually abused. In addition to arbitrary detention asylum seekers, refugees and migrants are at risk of abduction, different forms of ill treatments, exploitation, extortion and killings.

Within the current situation of ongoing insecurity, increased violence and widespread violation of human rights in Libya, thousands of people, including women and children, are systematically abducted, tortured or killed. These persecutions are based on religious, political, ethnic, family affiliation or nationality grounds; perpetrated by internationally recognised government and allied forces, as well as other armed groups. Asylum seekers, refugees and migrants are among the most vulnerable, not only to the above-mentioned abuses, but also in terms of access to basic services, such as shelter, healthcare, food or education.

At present, in Libya about 2.4 million of people, nearly half the population, are in need of protection. This also includes internally displaced people, many of whom are living in a situation of protracted displacement, together with refugees, asylum seekers and migrants.

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This article appeared in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin of 6 November 2015. You can subscribe to the Weekly Bulletin here.