Conditions for migrants in Libya deteriorating amidst ongoing conflict

North Africa

Many of the residents of the Migrant Detention Centre in Sabha, the largest city in southern Libya, struggle to get food and clean water.

Sabha is an isolated city located in in the south-west of the country, far away from the Mediterranean coast and the most prominent cultural and administrative hubs of Libya. Nevertheless, it is the largest city in the south of the country and it now host to hundreds of migrants who have fled from nearby conflicts and unstable circumstances, mainly from Eritrea, Somalia and Sudan. Libya, nonetheless, is still embroiled in conflict and does not represent the safest destination for the migrants at this moment in time.

However, many of those who were kept at the Migrant Detention Centre in Sabha have been deported, with few remaining behind. The conditions in the centre have deteriorated to an unbearable degree:

What we most need is cleanliness and then food”, said one of the migrants stranded in Sabha. 

Migrants who have arrived in Libya have been settled in various places in the country, including in the capital Tripoli. Those in Tripoli are in an especially precarious situation given the situation with the recent outburst of conflict since the launch of Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) offensive against the Government of National Accord (GNA) in the capital.

The most recent catastrophe with regards migrants in Libya took place in early July when the Migrant Detention Centre in Tajoura, eastern Libya, was bombed, leading to the deaths of dozens of refugees and the injuring of hundreds more.

The refugees were already worried by the developments in Tripoli and expressed fear about the threat that the conflict posed to their lives well before the July attack. Despite complaints made by the migrants after the attack, wherein they demanded to be transferred to safer areas, even more migrants were moved to the detention centre despite the safety risks.

Political stability in Libya still seems to be a distant reality as military clashes continue in and around Tripoli.