İrem UZUN -TDO- UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for the closure of migrant detention centers in Libya, denouncing what he called rights violations committed there. According to a report submitted to the UN Security Council, more than 2,780 migrants are still being detained under "horrendous conditions" in centers across Libya. That number was last updated July 31. The UN chief highlighted repeated reports of torture, abduction, rape and slavery taking place in the detention centers, adding that a reported shortage of food and lack of health care further exacerbated the situation.
According to the report, more than one-fifth of the detainees were children and underage youths. Secretary-General Guterres called on Libyan authorities to ensure that children were protected until "long-term solutions" could be found. "Children should never be detained, particularly when they are unaccompanied or separated from their parents," he said. Some migrants meanwhile have also been recruited against their will to work in arms and munitions depots, the report said. There, they are often tasked with repairing or reloading firearms for various armed groups fighting for power in the country.
Libya has been mired in chaos since the 2011 overthrow and killing of longtime ruler Muammar Gaddafi, with warring rival administrations based in the country's west and east battling for power. As the country slid into conflict, traffickers have exploited the unrest to turn the North African country into a key route for migration towards Europe, across the Mediterranean. In the past three years, however, crossings dropped sharply due to European Union and Italian-backed efforts to disrupt trafficking networks and to increase interceptions by Libya's coastguard.