Rescued migrants must not be sent back to Libya: UN

Migrants and asylum-seekers rescued while trying to cross the Mediterranean to Europe should not be sent back to Libya, where they risk "serious abuses," the UN's human rights agency has warned.

In an update to its official position on returns to Libya, the UNHCR warned against any such move, mooted recently by Italy's Interior Minister Matteo Salvini in a standoff with other EU nations on the migrant influx.

"Insecurity and the lack of governance have enabled illicit activities such as corruption as well as people-smuggling and human trafficking to thrive, further fuelling instability in the country," the agency wrote this month.

Proposals to set up processing centres for asylum applications in Libya and other North African countries, as called for in a deal struck by EU leaders in June, did not change its position, the UN's refugee body said.

The UNHCR said this week that nearly 1 600 people have died trying to reach Europe by sea since the beginning of this year.

It estimates that 679 000 migrants were registered living in Libya as at June 2018, though the actual number could be closer to a million.

Those rescued by Libyan coastguard vessels are held in detention centres indefinitely, which currently contain some 8 000 people, the agency said.

"In all facilities, detention conditions reportedly fail to meet international standards," with migrants at "very high risk of torture and other forms of ill-treatment, including rape and other forms of sexual violence, forced labour as well as extortion."

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

FOLLOW News24 Africa on Twitter and Facebook

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
Gauteng DA leader Solly Msimanga says the party's voters want it to explore conditional coalition talks with the ANC. 
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
It's a step in the right direction. An ANC-DA coalition would be the most stable option for SA
33% - 3111 votes
The DA should focus on working with all opposition parties, including the EFF, to unseat the ANC
14% - 1379 votes
The DA should rather remain in opposition than form a coalition with the ANC or the EFF
53% - 5039 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
17.08
+0.1%
Rand - Pound
20.67
+0.3%
Rand - Euro
17.92
-0.5%
Rand - Aus dollar
11.48
+0.5%
Rand - Yen
0.12
-0.6%
Gold
1,761.47
+0.2%
Silver
21.58
+0.6%
Palladium
1,860.50
+0.2%
Platinum
992.30
+0.8%
Brent Crude
83.63
-2.0%
Top 40
66,763
+0.0%
All Share
73,148
0.0%
Resource 10
70,975
-0.7%
Industrial 25
87,732
+0.4%
Financial 15
16,357
-0.1%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE