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A rescue operation, carried by the Libyan Coast Guard and local fisherman, has been underway since this morning and is ongoing.“We must not simply accept these tragedies as inevitable,” said Vincent Cochetel, UNHCR Special Envoy for the Central Mediterranean.Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: Rupert Colville Date: 7 June 2019Location: Geneva Subject: (1) Libya(1) Libya We are deeply concerned about the ghastly conditions in which migrants and refugees are being held in detention in Libya – with some 22 having died of tuberculosis and other illnesses in the Zintan detention facility since September 2018 – as well as ongoing reports of disappearances and human trafficking after people were intercepted at sea by the Libyan Coast Guard.
Clements pledged UNHCR’s commitment to work with Libyan authorities in setting up alternatives to detention for more than 4,800 refugees and migrants currently being held inside detention centres.
These measures should go hand in hand with increased evacuation and resettlement places from States to move refugees in Libya out of harm’s way.
This incident comes on the same day UNHCR’s Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees, Kelly Clements, visited Libya to assess the country’s rising humanitarian needs.
The conditions at Zintan Detention Centre amount to inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment, and may also amount to torture.
Some 3,400 migrants and refugees remain detained in Tripoli, according to UN figures.
Following today’s tragedy, it is estimated that some 900 people have lost their lives attempting to cross the Mediterranean in 2019.