An international medical aid group has called on Libyan authorities to end arbitrary detention of refugees, migrants and asylum seekers, branding conditions inside detention centres in the North African country as “dire,” ″unhealthy” and “abusive.”
Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said in a statement on Friday that medical conditions in detention centres in Tripoli, where the UN-backed government is based, are either caused or aggravated by “squalid detention conditions and ill-treatment.”
"More than one thousand detainees are treated monthly for respiratory tract infections, acute watery diarrhoea, scabies, lice, and urinary tract infections. The medical conditions are directly caused or aggravated by squalid detention conditions and ill treatment," the statement said.
The detention system in Libya is fuelled by exploitation of refugees. There is no oversight to ensure refugees are treated humanely.
A concerning number of detention centres have limited natural light and ventilation and are severely overcrowded, according to MSF.
"The amount of space per detainee is so limited that people are unable to stretch out at night. Food shortages have caused acute malnutrition in adults, with some patients requiring urgent hospitalisation," the statement added.
“Detainees are stripped of any human dignity, exposed to abusive treatment and lack adequate access to medical care,” Dr Sibylle Sang, a medical adviser for MSF said.
“Every day we see how much unnecessary harm is being caused by detaining people in these conditions. But there is only so much we can do to ease the suffering.”
The European Union (EU) earmarked tens of millions of euros to improve conditions for migrants inside Libyan detention centres.
However, MSF says international funding to Libya is not the solution and fears the narrow focus on improving facilities legitimises the arbitrary detention system that harms and exploits people without recourse to the law.
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