In Tripoli, as armed groups fight for control of the Libyan capital, a segment of the population could pay for its vulnerability. The migrants, confined to the jails of the Libyan guards and caught in the grip of fighting, are desperate to be released.
Unhappy candidates for the adventure to Europe, many migrants have still not returned to their country of origin. Arrested on the Mediterranean by the Libyan coastguard, they remain detained in the prisons of the country of North Africa. Since Marshal Khalifa Haftar’s offensive on the capital Tripoli on April 4, the vagueness is more prevalent on the fate of migrants. Despite calls for their release, nothing is moving in the right direction.
On the contrary. Some migrants are now afraid of being embarked by the militia to fight alongside them. Migrants from a detention center in the capital confided their fears to The Guardian. “Police and soldiers force migrants to clean up and load weapons.
They [tell] the migrants that if you know how to shoot with a gun, we will encourage you to stay with us, “said one of them to the media who said he had collected the testimony by message. The Guardian also claims to have received photos of migrants wearing uniforms similar to military uniforms.
If this information were confirmed, these acts would constitute war crimes, warns the human rights NGO Human Rights Watch. “Forcing civilians to store weapons in a war zone is abusive, illegally cruel and unnecessarily burdensome labor,” said Judith Sunderland, deputy director of Europe and Central Asia at Human Rights Watch. .
“Wearing uniforms suggests that they are used as hostages or human shields, two war crimes,” she added, urging the authorities to “release all arbitrarily detained migrants and ensure their safety.” A call also launched by the United Nations.
Help against freedom
The Prime Minister of the Government of National Unity in Libya, Fayez Al-Sarraj, however, has drawn the attention of the international community to the impact of a possible war on the whole territory of Libya.
He has also warned that up to 800,000 Africans and Libyans could try to win the European coast. Not to mention the “400 prisoners” of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) who could be released in the wake of the advance of the troops of Marshal Haftar.
A thinly veiled threat as the internationally recognized government tries to attract support from the international community in the face of his rival’s offensive.
“These prisoners are terrorists and we worked with the international community to keep and detain them. At the same time, we see some international partners supporting the attack and supporting Haftar, “said Ahmed Meitig, Deputy Prime Minister of the GNA , during a visit to Rome.
The European Union spends millions of euros on training and equipping Libyan coastguards to curb the migration of Africans to Europe. A policy vigorously denounced by human rights defenders that points to the EU’s involvement in the often violent methods of the coastguard in arresting migrants.
About 6,000 refugees and migrants are currently being held in detention centers ostensibly under the control of the Libyan Directorate for Combating Illegal Migration associated with the Fayez al-Sarraj government. On the other hand, many clandestine centers run by militias abound in the territory, in flagrant violation of human rights.
In 2017, a report by the American channel CNN revealed the existence of a slave market, prompting a wave of reactions around the world.