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The other face of Libya 

Editing news - Geneva 

The outside world knows Libya as an oil-rich country. But this has not led to tangible benefits for people. Many Libyans get poorer every year. There are at least 823,000 people in need of assistance. Almost half of them – or 413,000 – are refugees and migrants. The ill-treatment, torture and rape of migrants and refugees has been documented by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) in Desperate and Dangerous: Report on the human rights situation of migrants and refugees in Libya.

The report, published in December 2018 and based on 1,300 first-hand accounts, traces the entire journey of migrants and refugees through Libya. The OHCHR-UMSMIL report underscored that migrants and refugees “suffer unimaginable horrors” during their transit and stay in Libya. “From the moment they [migrants and refugees] step onto Libyan soil, they become vulnerable to unlawful killings, torture and other ill-treatment, arbitrary detention and unlawful deprivation of liberty, rape and other forms of sexual and gender-based violence, slavery and forced labour, extortion and exploitation by both State and non-State actors.” The investigators were unable to visit detention centres in eastern Libya. Not a lot has been written about the detention centres there. We met with some detainees and migrants in Benghazi recently.

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