Libya: senior UN official calls for independent probe into migrant deaths at detention centre

6 April 2016

Expressing deep regret and concern over the deaths of four migrants from Sub-Saharan Africa in a detention centre in al-Zawiya, Libya, a senior United Nations envoy for that country has called today for an independent, impartial and full investigation into their deaths.

According to the UN Support Mission for Libya (UNSMIL), the four detainees sustained fatal gunshot wounds and 20 more were injured on 1 April during and in the aftermath of an apparent escape attempt from the detention centre, where conditions are reportedly inhumane, with severe overcrowding and shortages of food and other basic necessities, including medical care. A guard was also injured in the incident.

UNSMIL’s Deputy Special Representative, Ali Al-Za’tari, which is also the UN Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator called for independent, impartial and full investigations into their deaths. HE also wished a speedy recovery to the injured guard and wounded migrants.

The al-Zawiya prosecution opened an investigation into the incident, and questioned a number of witnesses. Welcoming the investigation, Mr. Al-Za’tari said: “This incident yet again highlights the deplorable conditions endured by migrants, asylum-seekers and refugees in Libya; many of them fleeing persecution, abuses or poverty in their own countries.”

He went on to express the hope that the Government of National Accord will urgently address the dire humanitarian situation of particularly vulnerable groups in Libya including migrants. “In the meantime, all those with effective authority of the ground should protect migrants from abuse and exploitation and put an end to their prolonged detention in horrid conditions,” he said.


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