Libya's detention of migrants is "inhuman", says United Nations official

Libya's detention of migrants is

He said in a statement that the EU's policy of assisting the Libyan Coast Guard to intercept and return migrants in the Mediterranean is inhuman.

The European Union's support for the Libyan coast guard is leading to the arbitrary and indefinite imprisonment of migrants in "inhuman" conditions, the United Nations human rights chief said on Tuesday.

When they reach Africa's northern coast many it appears have been held captive by the people smugglers and sold as slaves in markets in Libya.

"The global community cannot continue to turn a blind eye to the unimaginable horrors endured by migrants in Libya, and pretend that the situation can be remedied only by improving conditions in detention", Hussein said.

Moroccan authorities said Wednesday that they are working to bring home a large group of Moroccan migrants who sought to enter Europe illegally but are stuck in a Libyan detention centre.

"That was up from about 7,000 in mid-September when authorities detained thousands of migrants following armed clashes in Sabratha smuggling and trafficking hub, about 80 kilometres west of Tripoli".

While some are sent to detention centres, many are simply left in the hands of the human traffickers whom they had either paid or owe substantial sums to.

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"I bled profusely, and I think I lost the baby".

"I welcome the strong commitment shown by member states to reduce irregular and risky routes and enhance safe and legal pathways", European Union migration commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos said. "(The smuggler) does not care as long as he gets the money, and the migrant may get to Europe or die at sea".

The scheme is aimed at discouraging migrant boats from making the risky Mediterranean crossing, which is still causing deaths more than two years after the migration crisis first hit the continent in 2015.

While U.N. agencies and other humanitarian groups have access to them and seek to provide health care and some food, Zeid said it was not enough because "the European Union and its member states have done nothing so far to reduce the level of abuses suffered by migrants".

He made it as far as Libya, where he says he and other would-be migrants were held in grim living conditions, deprived of food, abused and mistreated by their captors.

"We can not be a silent witness to modern day slavery, rape and other sexual violence, and unlawful killings in the name of managing migration and preventing desperate and traumatised people from reaching Europe's shores", Zeid said.

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