The United Nations’ Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights is condemning the forced expulsion of asylum seekers and migrants by Libyan authorities, warning of the risks many face when returned to the homes they fled to escape persecution.
Two large groups of Sudanese are among those forcibly deported from Libya over the past month. United Nations monitors say most have been summarily expelled from the Ganfouda and al-Kufra detention centers. Both centers are controlled by the Interior Ministry’s Department for Combatting illegal Migration. The monitors say the Sudanese apparently have been transported across the Sahara Desert to the Libya-Sudan border and dumped there.
The U.N. Human Rights Office says Libya’s expulsion of the Sudanese asylum seekers and migrants without due process and procedural guarantees violates international human rights and refugee law.
U.N. spokesman Rupert Colville says the group of 18 Sudanese expelled Monday reportedly were arrested, detained, and arbitrarily expelled. He says no hearing was held to assess their need for protection from persecution, torture, and other abuse in their home country. He says they were not granted legal assistance.
“Those expelled have often already survived a range of other serious human rights violations and abuses in Libya at the hands of both state and nonstate actors, including arbitrary detention, enforced disappearance, trafficking, sexual violence, torture and ill-treatment,” he said.
Colville says other migrants from Sudan, Eritrea, Somalia, and Chad —including children and pregnant women — also have been detained in recent months. He says they either already have been expelled or are at imminent risk of deportation.
“Now of immediate concern is a group of 24 Eritreans who are currently being held in the same Ganfouda detention center, and who are believed also to be at risk of imminent deportation,” he said. “On the third of December, we were informed that, in a pattern mirroring the experience of the expelled Sudanese, they had been transferred to the al-Kufra detention center in preparation for their deportation.”
The U.N. high commissioner’s office is calling on the authorities to protect the rights of all asylum seekers and migrants in Libya. It says they should investigate all claims of violations and abuse and bring perpetrators to justice in fair trials. It urges Libya to meet its obligations under international human rights law, which prohibits collective expulsions.