Tripoli: The African Union (AU), the European Union (EU), and the UN have issued a joint statement expressing concerns over the situation of illegal immigrants detained in Libya.
“The AU-EU-UN task force reiterates its continued commitment to work with Libya and support the overall efforts of the interim government on migration management, in line with international law, and for the benefit of all involved,” Xinhua news agency quoted the statement issued on Wednesday as saying.
The statement also expressed concern about the fact that there are almost 6,000 most vulnerable migrants and asylum seekers currently in detention centres.
“Severe overcrowding, lack of adequate facilities and provision of basic services, restricted humanitarian access and human rights violations result in unacceptable conditions for the men, women and children detained,” the statement explained.
It strongly urged the Libyan authorities to end the current detention system, calling for an immediate release of women and children and substantial improvement of conditions in the detention centres.
So far in 2021, a total of 15,700 illegal migrants, including women and children, have been rescued, while 225 have died and 499 went missing off the Libyan coast on the Central Mediterranean route, according to the IOM.
Libya has been plagued by insecurity and chaos since the fall of the late leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, making it a preferred point of departure for illegal immigrants wanting to cross the Mediterranean Sea toward European shores.
The country currently hosts 43,113 refugees and asylum-seekers who are registered with UNHCR.
Refugees are travelling alongside migrants through dangerous routes towards Europe.
Up to 90 per cent of people crossing the Mediterranean Sea to Europe depart from Libya.
Rescued migrants end up inside overcrowded reception centres across Libya, despite repeated international calls to close them.