More than 2,000 African asylum seekers, refugees, and migrants camping since early October 2021 in precarious conditions in front of a shuttered United Nations facility are in dire need of shelter, food, and medical treatment, Human Rights Watch said today. Libyan authorities need to respond to this humanitarian emergency, and European states, whose support enables Libyan authorities to prevent people from reaching European shores, should scale up humanitarian evacuations.
Thousands of migrants and asylum seekers gathered around the Community Day Centre (CDC) after armed groups linked to the Interior Ministry conducted widespread raids and makeshift shelter demolitions in Tripoli’s Hai al-Andalous municipality. They were purportedly targeting criminal networks but left thousands homeless. Those who remain outside the CDC, where the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, previously provided medical assistance and other services, are peacefully demanding evacuation from Libya to a safe location amid worsening humanitarian conditions and attacks by armed groups.
“By demolishing migrants’ and asylum seekers’ makeshift shelters, Libyan authorities manufactured a humanitarian crisis, leaving thousands of people fending for themselves in the streets,” said Hanan Salah, Libya director at Human Rights Watch. “Libya and European states should urgently respond to this rapidly deteriorating situation as people are being exposed to violence and lack basic any help for basic needs.”
Human Rights Watch spoke with refugees and asylum seekers among those holding out near the CDC and with civic groups. Researchers also reviewed photos and videos sent by asylum seekers and refugees and derived from social media.