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UN chief “gravely concerned” about human rights in Libya

Libyans celebrate the country’s 70th anniversary of independence in Martyrs’ Square in Tripoli on Dec. 24. Associated Press/Photo by Yousef Murad

UN chief “gravely concerned” about human rights in Libya

A new United Nations report sounds alarms about abuses at detention centers in Libya. The North African country is a major transit point for migrants fleeing Africa or the Middle East for Europe. Traffickers often pack desperate families into dangerous rubber or wooden boats that stall and founder along the Mediterranean route. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said many of those rescued or intercepted and returned to Libya wind up in inhumane detention centers.

What is going on? The report states that, officially, more than 12,000 people are locked up in 27 prisons and detention facilities in Libya. They are at higher risk for rape, sexual harassment, and trafficking by armed groups, smugglers, and even some Libyan government officials. And thousands more are being held illegally and often in “inhumane conditions in facilities controlled by armed groups.” The detainees have no legal standing to challenge their imprisonment.

Dig deeper: From the archives, read Onize Ohikere’s World Tour report on the nations and stakeholders involved in Libya’s unrest.

Kent Covington

Kent is a reporter and news anchor for WORLD Radio. He spent nearly two decades in Christian and news/talk radio before joining WORLD in 2012. He resides in Atlanta, Ga.


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