'Refugee conditions appalling'

2009-09-21 17:08
Brussels - The UN's refugee agency ruled out Libya on Monday as a country to host people seeking protection in Europe as asylum seekers, describing conditions in some migration centres there as appalling.

"Libya does not have the conditions needed to provide a solution with adequate protection for refugees or asylum seekers at the moment," said the head of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guterres.

"There are detention circumstances that are appalling and there is an effect that people that deserve and need protection will be sent back to their countries of origin," he told reporters in Brussels.

His remarks, at a meeting of EU interior ministers focused on refugees and immigration, came after Italy began, in May, sending boat-loads of people hoping to find a home in Europe back to their point of departure in Libya.

Libya is a major transit nation for sub-Saharan Africans - many recently from the Horn of Africa - risking their lives in rickety boats to make the Mediterranean crossing.

Last year, some 35 000 illegal immigrants arrived on Italian shores. Of them, 75% sought political or humanitarian asylum, half of whom obtained it, according to the UN refugee agency.

The rights watchdog, Human Rights Watch, also slammed on Monday conditions in Libya and hit out at Italy's new immigration policy.

"Italy intercepts African boat migrants and asylum seekers, fails to screen them for refugee status or other vulnerabilities, and forcibly returns them to Libya, where many are detained in inhuman and degrading conditions," it said in a report.
Read more on:    north africa  |  libya  |  refugees

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.