Dozens of migrants forced off boat in Libya after standoff

2018-11-21 16:02
iStock

iStock

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Dozens of migrants have been forced off a cargo vessel by Libyan authorities after refusing to disembark over fears of abuses, in a move decried on Wednesday by human rights groups.

The 79 asylum seekers and migrants were forcibly removed on Tuesday from the Panama-flagged commercial ship Nivin after rejecting demands for 10 days to get off in the Libyan port of Misrata.

"The humanitarian community is saddened by the turn of events in Misrata," United Nations humanitarian coordinator for Libya Maria Ribeiro said in a statement.

"We regret the reports that some of the people onboard were injured during the forced disembarkation and transferred to the public hospital."

Ribeiro said humanitarian organisations had "strongly advocated for a peaceful solution" and it was "regrettable" that mediation efforts had failed to achieve this.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Wednesday condemned the use of force as "the worst possible conclusion to the desperate plea of the people on board the Nivin to avoid inhuman detention in Libya".

It said the Nivin had rescued the group from their sinking rubber dinghy in the waters off Libya under instructions from Italy's Maritime Rescue Coordination Committee on November 7 and then docked in Misrata.

The United Nations said that nationals from Ethiopia, Eritrea, South Sudan, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Somalia were among those onboard.

"Libyan authorities should immediately allow United Nations and nongovernmental personnel to visit the people removed from the cargo ship, find alternatives to their detention, and investigate the possible use of unlawful force," HRW said.

Plunged into chaos following the overthrow and killing of longtime dictator Muammar Gaddafi in a NATO-backed uprising in 2011, Libya has become a prime transit point for sub-Saharan African migrants making dangerous clandestine bids to reach Europe.

People smugglers have taken advantage of the turmoil, putting African migrants seeking to reach Europe at greater risk.

Many migrants, intercepted or rescued at sea, find themselves held in detention centres where they face dire conditions.

Amnesty International says migrants held in Libyan facilities "are routinely exposed to torture, rape, beatings, extortion and other abuse".

The UN warned last week that the situation in Libya's detention centres "continues to deteriorate" because of food shortages and the spread of diseases including tuberculosis.

* Sign up to News24's top Africa news in your inbox: SUBSCRIBE TO THE HELLO AFRICA NEWSLETTER

FOLLOW News24 Africa on Twitter and Facebook

Read more on:    hrw  |  libya  |  north africa
NEXT ON NEWS24X

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.

Inside News24

 
/News
Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

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.

Settings

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.