Reuters: UN briefing alleges killing, torture and extortion of migrants sent from Tunisia to Libya

Reuters: UN briefing alleges killing, torture and extortion of migrants sent from Tunisia to Libya
Photo: African migrants in Tunisia / Source: Shutterstock

A confidential U.N. human rights briefing viewed by Reuters alleges migrants captured in Tunisia and transferred to Libya have been subjected to killing, torture, extortion, and forced labor. 

Both countries have received vast sums of money from the European Union in exchange for halting the flow of migrants to their shores. The policy has curbed migration but it’s come at the expense of human rights. 

The U.N. briefing that occurred on January 23rd documents reports of abuse from 18 former detainees from Palestine, Syria, Sudan and Southern Sudan.

They say they were deported from Tunisia to detention centers in Libya where they were held for up to two weeks. 

One witness says a Sudanese man was burned alive at the al-Assa detention facility. Another man was allegedly shot. The briefing included photographic and video evidence of torture in a Libyan facility.

At the Bir al-Ghanam detention center near Tripoli migrants allegedly faced extortion from officials charging $2500 to $4000 for their release depending on their nationalities. 

"Collective expulsions from Tunisia to Libya and the associated arbitrary detention of migrants are fuelling extortion rackets and cycles of abuse, which are already widespread human rights issues in Libya," the U.N. briefing said.

A Libyan human rights expert told Reuters roughly 2000 migrants detained by Tunisia were sent to Libya this year.

The briefing urged Libya to decriminalize migrants arriving on their soil. It also called on countries to adhere to human rights when outsourcing migration control to other nations. 

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