UN Closes Migrant Centre In Libya Over Safety Fears

North Africa

The United Nations' refugee agency said military exercises in the capital of Libya, Tripoli, were taking places only metres away from the migrant centre.

The UN’s refugee agency has been forced to suspend work at a major facility in the Libyan capital Tripoli because military exercises were taking place only metres away and could be targeted.

Hundreds of migrants will now have to be moved by the UNHCR amid fears for their safety. The agency had already expressed “serious” concerns after mortal shells has fell close to its Gathering and Departure Facility.

It is situated in an area under the control of the interior ministry of the Government of National Accord in Tripoli, which is in confrontation with the forces commanded by Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar.

“Unfortunately UNHCR was left with no choice but to suspend work at the Gathering and Departure Facility in Tripoli after learning that training exercises, involving police and military personnel, are taking place just a few meters away from units housing asylum seekers and refugees,” said Jean-Paul Cavalieri, UNHCR’s Chief of Mission in Libya.

“We fear that the entire area could become a military target, further endangering the lives of refugees, asylum seekers, and other civilians,” he added.

Mr Cavalieri said work at the facility will hopefully be resumed once it is safe to do so.

Nearly 900 people have entered the “severely overcrowded” GDF “spontaneously” since July, the UNHCR said.

Migrant detention centres outside the control of UN agencies are typically rife with abuse and often run by local armed groups.

It comes as the UN’s special representative to Libya warned that a recently agreed truce between the warring factions in Libya is holding “only in name”. Ghassan Salame said there had been a significant increase in shelling in Tripoli and elsewhere.

Mr Salame, in a speech to the UN Security Council, revealed he is set to meet with Field Marshal Haftar in the coming days.

Article: The National

Image: Reuters