London, UK, July 3, 2019 — An estimated 44 people have been killed in Tripoli, as an airstrike landed on a detention centre housing more than 600 vulnerable refugees and migrants. More than 100 of those trapped inside are thought to be injured and the numbers are expected to rise.
This latest attack proves the immense vulnerability of refugees and migrants who are stranded in Libya. Three months since the newest onset of violence, and the conflict shows no sign of abating. More than 105,000 people in Libya have been displaced as a result of ongoing clashes, and still 3,800 people remain trapped inside detention centres at imminent risk of getting caught in the conflict.
Elinor Raikes, Regional Director for the IRC in Europe and North Africa said:
“This devastating development is a testament to the immense vulnerability of the refugees and migrants who remain trapped inside detention centres across Libya. The fear and horror felt by those trapped in Tajoura - and across Libya - is unimaginable. People caught in detention centres must be evacuated to a place of safety outside Libya and search and rescue operations at sea immediately restored to protect those fleeing the violence. A ceasefire is urgently needed. European governments and the US must recognise their role in bringing the warring parties back to the negotiating table.”
Many refugees and migrants continue to be intercepted at sea and returned to what is an active war zone. This cannot continue and international leaders - including Europe and the US - must decriminalise the humanitarian actions taking place to protect those who are fleeing Libya. The EU’s decision to withdraw the naval assets in Operation Sophia that provided a vital role in saving lives at sea has meant that thousands more people find themselves trapped in detention centres like Tajoura. Detention is not the answer to the protection of people on the move and Europe and the US must find alternative and sustainable solutions for the most vulnerable people.
The International Rescue Committee responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises, helping to restore health, safety, education, economic wellbeing, and power to people devastated by conflict and disaster. Founded in 1933 at the call of Albert Einstein, the IRC is at work in over 40 countries and 29 U.S. cities helping people to survive, reclaim control of their future and strengthen their communities. Learn more at www.rescue-uk.org and follow the IRC on Twitter & Facebook.