Days, weeks without food … Conditions of detention that could not be overcome by the 450 or so missing migrants at the Abu Salim detention center in Libya. On the evening of Tuesday, they took the key of the fields and stayed up all night in front of a local agency of the UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, to call for help.
According to migrants who told the Associated Press, some of the detainees were forced to ask their families for money to bribe the police to bring back money. As for the unlucky ones who did not have the opportunity, they had to cooperate with hunger.
According to these witnesses, the UN agency advised migrants who fled their center to return, or to join another center, for lack of space available on its site. UNHCR, however, promised that its officials, dispatched to the camp, would do their utmost to find a solution.
For several years, the reports have repeatedly denounced the horrible living conditions in detention centers in Libya, which has become a real crossroads of illegal immigration to Europe. A situation exacerbated by the resurgence, last April, fighting in the cables of the capital Tripoli, between the forces of the government of national unity – internationally recognized – and those of Marshal Haftar, which controls the East of the country.
Faced with this gloomy picture of the living conditions of migrants, Europe’s policy of supporting the Libyan coastguard in intercepting people fleeing Libya to Europe is coming under increasing criticism.