UN rights report details ‘unconscionable’ violations of migrants returning from Libya — Global Issues

“This desperate situation requires all concerned to ensure that no migrant is forced to accept return assistance in an unsafe or unsustainable situation in the country of origin. their”, speak Acting High Commissioner for Human Rights, Nada Al-Nashif.

In the face of a lack of protection inside and outside of Libya, migrants are subjected to substandard treatment to escape abusive detention conditions, threats of torture, sexual violence, forced disappearances, extortion and other abuses.

“In general, these conditions created an environment of coercion is often unsuitable for free choice,” the report stated.

Reality check

In principle, ‘supported returns’ are voluntary.

However, the report shows that in reality, many migrants in Libya are unable to actually return under international human rights laws and standards, including the principles of freedom, prior consent and notification.

Many people find that they have have no choice but to return to the same circumstances that caused them to leave their country in the first place, the report states.

Long-lasting consequences

“Any migrant being returned to a country is experiencing adverse structural and dynamic factors that force people to leave their country of origin, including human rights violations and abuses, The negative effects of climate change and environmental degradation, armed conflict, persecution, or a combination of these reasons, can lead to an even more vulnerable situation than before. , ” reports the warning.

Returnees also face other personal, financial and psychosocial burdensincluding the aftermath of the severe trauma they experienced in Libya.

In the absence of sustainable solutions to these problems, the report adds, migrants may feel compelled to leave again, under even more precarious circumstances.

‘Hitting people like animals’

It also contains testimonies from some of the 65 immigrants interviewed by the United Nations human rights office (OHCHR) who was recently returned to the Gambia.

“They took me to a prison. But even then I didn’t think about going back to the Gambia. Then they entered the prison with a stick and beat people like animals. Sometimes they take your money and nice clothes. They broke my teeth. So I accepted back”, said one of the migrants.

Another explained, “I have no chance to ask for protection in Libya or elsewhere. I was only offered to return home.”

‘unresolvable’ situation

Since 2015, more than 60,000 migrants in Libya have been repatriated through ‘assisted return’ programs to various countries across Africa and Asia, including at least 3,300 Gambians returned from 2017.

“Libya and the countries concerned should take immediate steps to urgently address this unacceptable, unacceptable situation,” Al-Nashif said.

The senior United Nations official asserted that other States also have a responsibility to “enhance and provide greater protection to migrants stranded in Libya by strengthening safe entry pathways”. safely and regularly enter their territory”.


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