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Unabated Abuse in Libya’s Migrant Centres

New evidence of starvation and abuses inside migrant detention centres has been collected from migrants inside seven facilities across Libya. A report by Amnesty International comes less than a month after Médecins Sans Frontières announced it was suspending its operations at two centres in Libya because of increasing violence towards refugees and migrants. Amnesty says it has more than 50 fresh accounts documenting severe beatings, sexual violence, extortion and forced labour at the centres, used to house people who have been forcibly returned after trying to reach Europe across the Mediterranean. In the report launched on Thursday, testimonies gathered between January 2020 and June 2021 allege that guards coerced women into sex in exchange for water and shot at detainees, causing deaths and injuries, while in one of the centres, people were reportedly starving. Despite the well-documented abuse, the report added, EU member states continue to back the Libyan coastguard to stop migrants trying to flee to safety and return them to detention centres in Libya. Between January and June 2021, the Libyan coastguard intercepted about 15,000 people at sea and returned them to Libya during what they labelled “rescue missions”, the report claimed.