UNHCR calls for end to immigrant detention in Libya

Tripoli, July 14 (IANS) The United Nations Higher Commission of Refugees (UNHCR) on Saturday called for an end to detaining illegal immigrants in Libya after they were rescued at sea.

“53 refugees and migrants have been intercepted/rescued at sea and disembarked at Zawya (western Libya). UNHCR and IMC provided humanitarian and medical assistance to the rescued,” the Commission tweeted.

“UNHCR reiterates that detention of refugees disembarked in Libya after being rescued at sea has to stop,” UNHCR said, the Xinhua news agency reported.

Due to the state of insecurity and chaos following the 2011 uprising that toppled the late leader Muammar Gaddafi’s regime, Libya became a preferred point of departure for thousands of illegal immigrants wanting to cross the Mediterranean toward European shores.

Since early April, the capital Tripoli has been witnessing armed conflict between the UN-backed government forces and the eastern-based army, which is trying to overthrow the government and take over Tripoli.

The fighting has so far killed more than 1,000 people and injured more than 5,500 others, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

–IANS

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