A human rights worker for the Norwegian Refugee Council has reported the detention of up to 5,000 refugees in Lybia since Friday, October 1, 2021.
The allegations were made on Sunday, after a crackdown on Friday by the Libyan police force against migrants.
“This is the largest crackdown on migrants in Libya that we’ve seen in recent years. This is not the first time that there have been large numbers of arrests, we’ve seen this happen a bit on a smaller scale over the last few weeks and months and over the course of the last year there were upwards of 5,000 migrants and refugees in Libyan detention centres at a time, so this is not a new practice, but certainly, these are the biggest numbers that we’ve seen in a single 24-hour or 36-hour period”, said Alexandra Saieh, Libya advocacy manager for the Norwegian Refugee Council.
The UN has shared that the operation resulted in at least one dead migrant and 15 injured.
Meanwhile, Libyan authorities claim at the migrants detained are less than 4,000, including women and children.
The Libyan Interior Ministry described the crackdown as a security operation against illegal migrants and drug trafficking.
“High-income countries, particularly those in Europe, must do more. This is really a wake-up call to the dire situation that exists in Libya for migrants and refugees and the international community must step up”, Alexandra Saieh.
Since the fall of Moammar Gadhafi’s regime in 2011, Libya has become a major transit point into Europe for migrants escaping war and famine in Africa and the Middle East