STATEMENT of the United Nations Assistant Secretary-General Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Libya, Georgette Gagnon

2 Oct 2021

STATEMENT of the United Nations Assistant Secretary-General Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Libya, Georgette Gagnon

UN extremely concerned about reports of Killing and Excessive Use of Force against Migrants and Asylum Seekers in Gargaresh, Tripoli 

TRIPOLI, 02 October 2021- One migrant was killed and at least 15 others injured, six seriously, when Libyan security authorities, carried out raids on houses and temporary makeshift shelters yesterday in Gargaresh, an area of Tripoli heavily populated by migrants and asylum-seekers.       

While the UN fully respects the State’ s sovereignty and supports its duty to maintain law and order, and protect the security of their population, it calls on State authorities to respect at all times the human rights and dignity of all people, including migrants and asylum-seekers.

According to reports of officials from the Directorate of Combatting Illegal Migration, at least 4,000 people, including women and children, were arrested during the security operation. Unarmed migrants were harassed in their homes, beaten and shot. The United Nations received reports of one young migrant being shot and killed. Five other migrants sustained gunshot wounds; two of them are in serious condition in intensive care. It also received reports that communications were shut down with individuals unable to communicate, access information and seek assistance.

Most of those persons arrested are now being arbitrarily detained including in detention facilities operated by the Directorate of Combatting Illegal Migration, under the Ministry of Interior.   

The United Nations reiterates that the use of excessive and unwarranted lethal force by security and police forces during law enforcement operations is a violation of national and international law. We call on the Libyan authorities to investigate reports of security forces’ use of lethal and excessive force against migrants in yesterday’s operations.

The United Nations has repeatedly condemned the inhuman conditions in Libya’s detention centres in which migrants and refugees are held in severely overcrowded facilities with limitations on access to life-saving humanitarian assistance.

In line with relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions and the Berlin Conclusions, we reiterate our call on the Libyan authorities to end and prevent arbitrary arrest and detention, and immediately release those most vulnerable, particularly women and children.

In this context, we again urge the Government to immediately allow the resumption of IOM and UNHCR operated voluntary humanitarian evacuation and return flights and departures of thousands of migrants and asylum seekers in Libya to destinations outside the country.

The United Nations stands fully ready to work with the Libyan Government and relevant authorities to strengthen migration governance while ensuring full respect of international human rights, humanitarian and refugee law.