Human rights violations are at the top of the agenda in Libya nowadays because of the ongoing migrant crisis. Recently, the UN Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner said: “In Libya, the number of migrants draws a rising graphics and they held in wretched conditions in detention facilities. Migrants are detained with the support of Italy and European Union’s policy of assisting the Libyan Cost guard to waylay and return migrants to the Mediterranean.”


High Commissioner Grandi: “I was shocked”


Libya’s Department of Combating Illegal Migration (DCIM) states that 19,900 people have been arrested. Detained people, including women, and children, are kept under harsh conditions that are contrary to basic human rights. These conditions pose a danger to their psychological and physical health.

From November 1-6, UN human rights monitors visited DCIM facilities and observed the violation of human rights using interviews with detainees as primary sources. Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the OHCHR head, said that “There are thousands of emaciated and traumatized men, w, men and children piled out on top of each other, locked up in hangars with no access to the most basic necessities, and stripped of their human dignity.” 


Jeff Crisp, who has held a senior position with the UN High Commissionary for Refugees, tweeted about the OHCHR statement: “Excellent statement on Libya by OHCHR. But it would have been MUCH more effective it had been co-signed by IOM and UNHCR.”

There is insecurity, a lack of rule of law and economic instability in Libya but this country is still a popular location for migrants who are trying to find job opportunities there or aiming to reach Europe. The migrant crisis in Libya stems from the fact that there are no safe options-migrants will face horrific conditions if they are arrested by the Libyan authorities, but using smuggling networks to reach Europe is a dangerous and costly gamble. The total number of migrants in Libya is approximately 700,000 – 1 million. These migrants usually come from Egypt, Niger, Sudan, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Syria, and Mali. Due to the dangerous situation in Libya, many aim to reach Europe for safer and better living conditions.

According to data published by IOM, as of 12 November,156,962 migrants succeeded in reaching Europe via the Mediterranean in 2017, while 2,992 were dead or missing.