03.07.2019 – «Libya detention centre airstrike could amount to a war crime» has said the U.N. Secretary General Guterres calling for independent investigation.

«Libya detention centre airstrike could amount to a war crime» has said the Secretary General of the United Nations, Her Excellency Honourable António Guterres in his Statement of the 3rd of july 2019 calling for independent investigation.

The 3rd of July 2019

of Benedetto Loprete

Peace and Security.

IOM/Moad Laswed
The aftermath of the devastating airstrike on the Tajoura Detention Centre, in the suburbs of the Libyan capital,
Tripoli, on 2 nd of July 2019.

An airstrike on a detention centre in Tripoli that killed scores of migrants and refugees «deserves more than condemnation», UN agencies said on Wednesday, as both the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the head of the UN mission in Libya (UNSMIL), insisted that it may amount to a war crime.

In a joint call for an investigation to bring those responsible to justice, UN migration agency, IOM, and UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, spoke of the «appalling toll” caused by Tuesday’s reported airstrike on the Tajoura Detention Centre in a suburb of the Libyan capital.

The Secretary General of the United Nations Her Excellency Honourable António Guterres said in a statement that he was «outraged by reports that at least 44 migrants and refugees, including women and children, have been killed and more than 130 injured». He condemned «this horrendous incident in the strongest terms», and expressed his deepest condolences to the families of the victims, wishing the injured a speedy recovery.

«I am outraged by reports that dozens of refugees and migrants, including women and children, have been killed and injured by airstrikes on a migrant detention centre near Tripoli, Libya.
I condemn this horrendous incident and call for an independent investigation».
Her Excellency Honourable António Guterres, Secretary General of the United Nations.
Statement of the 3rd of july 2019.

«The airstrike that left scores dead, also left dozens injured», IOM and UNHCR said, noting that they expected the final death toll to include many more victims.

«Such an attack deserves more than condemnation», both agencies added, in an appeal for a probe «to determine how this happened and who was responsible, and to bring those individuals to account».

According to one report, a cell was hit containing more than 120 people, some of the more than 600 men, women and children being held at the centre.

This is despite the fact that the coordinates of this detention facility «and the knowledge that it housed civilians had been communicated to the parties to the conflict», the UN’s top human rights official, Michelle Bachelet, said, in reference to ongoing clashes between the UN-recognised Government and forces loyal to Khalifa Haftar.

«(This) indicates that this attack may, depending on the precise circumstances, amount to a war crime», she insisted, before urging all parties to the conflict «to abide by their obligations under international humanitarian law, and to take all possible measures to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure, including schools, hospitals and detention facilities».

Also noting the exact coordinates had been given, the UN chief called for an independent investigation, «to ensure that the perpetrators are brought to justice».

“The Secretary-General further reminds all parties of their obligations under international humanitarian law to take all feasible precautions to avoid, and in any event to minimize, incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians and damage to civilian objects, and to refrain from directing attacks against civilians», said the UN chief’s statement. «This incident underscores the urgency to provide all refugees and migrants with safe shelter until their asylum claims can be processed or they can be safely repatriated».

Ghassan Salamé, head of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) and Special Representative of the Secretary-General, echoed the High Commissioner’s assessment of the attack, describing it as a «cowardly act».

He added: «This attack clearly could constitute a war crime, as it killed by surprise innocent people whose dire conditions forced them to be in that shelter».

He said that «the absurdity of this ongoing war today has led this bloody carnage to its most hideous and most tragic consequences», calling on the international community to denounce the crime and pursue justice for the victims, mostly believed to be migrants – men, women and children – from other African nations, hoping to reach Europe.

Around 3,300 migrants, refugees, remain arbitrarily detained
In addition to the detainees at Tajoura, some 3,300 migrants and refugees remain arbitrarily detained inside and around Tripoli, according to IOM and UNHCR.

They are held in «in conditions that can only be described as inhumane», the agencies said, while highlighting the dangers posed by intensifying clashes nearby.

Echoing their call for these centres to be closed, UN High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet explained that UN staff have documented severe overcrowding, torture, ill-treatment, forced labour, rape and acute malnutrition in the troubled country’s facilities.

«I also repeat my call for the release of detained migrants and refugees as a matter of urgency, and for their access to humanitarian protection, collective shelters or other safe places, well away from areas that are likely to be affected by the hostilities», she said.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), intensified airstrikes and heavy shelling in and around Tripoli have displaced at least 104,000 people.

For the past several months, the forces of the self-styled Libyan National Army, which holds sway in eastern and parts of the country, have laid siege to the outskirts of the Libyan capital, where the UN-recognized Government of National Accord under Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj is based.

According to news reports, the forces loyal to LNA Commander Haftar, threatened new air strikes on Tripoli in recent days, after their advance stalled, although the LNA has reportedly denied responsibility for the direct airstrike on the centre.

Military targets have included Mitiga airport – targeted with shelling four times since the latest escalation began, while field ambulance and field hospital teams continue to be hampered by «continuous shelling and armed clashes».

Benedetto Loprete

The 5th of July 2019

of Benedetto Loprete

Peace and Security.

Six children among 53 confirmed fatalities after Libya detention centre airstrikes.

UNICEF/Romenzi
Migrant children walk outside a detention centre located in Tripoli, Libya.

The toll from Tuesday’s reported airstrikes on a detention centre in the suburbs of Tripoli has risen to 53 dead and more than 130 injured among the «severely traumatized” surviving migrants and refugees, UN aid agencies said on Friday, reiterating their appeal to close all such facilities in the embattled country.

Speaking to journalists in Geneva, Joel Millman from the International Organization for Migration (IOM), said that six children were among the fatalities at the Tajoura site, where the more than 600 detainees came from at least 17 mainly African States.

No confirmation that guards fired on fleeing migrants.

Some 350 migrants – among them 20 women and four children – are still being held at Tajoura, the IOM spokesperson added, noting that he was unable to confirm reports that guards had fired on migrants trying to flee.

In the aftermath of Tuesday’s devastation, the head of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) and Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Ghassan Salamé, led calls for an international inquiry, insisting it could «clearly…constitute a war crime».

Echoing that appeal, UNHCR’s Charlie Yaxley noted that both parties involved in the fight for Tripoli – the UN-recognised Government and forces loyal to self-styled Libyan National Army commander, Khalifa Haftar – knew where civilians were sheltering.

«We reiterate once again that the coordinates of these detention centres in Tripoli are well-known to both sides of the conflict and this was a preventable tragedy that never should have happened», he said, while also noting that refugees had been “severely traumatized” after seeing fellow detainees dying.

«They spoke in a state of shock, they spoke to us about seeing their fellow “detainees” body parts dismembered around the centre», he said.

According to IOM and UNHCR, 3,300 migrants and refugees remain arbitrarily detained inside and around Tripoli.

IOM’s Mr. Millman further noted that approximately 180 of the 600 people held in Tajoura had agreed to be evacuated under IOM’s voluntary repatriation programme, and that two of them had died in the airstrikes.

«We are not able to verify who is responsible for the attack, that’s why there needs to be this independent investigation», UNCHR’s Mr. Yaxley said. «What we can say is that, is at this point there does need to be greater efforts, far greater efforts from the international community, particularly amongst those States who have leverage over the warring parties to bring an end to the violence».

Addressing the dangers faced by those being held in Libya, Mr. Yaxley cited concerns that «some of these detention centres may be being used to store weapons and military equipment. We remind all parties that conflict is using civilian infrastructure in that way, would be a violation of international humanitarian law and must be avoided at all costs».

Latest Mediterranean drowning claims dozens of lives.

In addition to the Tajoura tragedy, IOM also reported that more than 80 migrants are feared drowned after their vessel capsized while trying to reach Europe from the Libyan port of Zwara.

«The survivors told IOM staff that the inflatable boat carrying 86 people including four women and two children, left Zwara around 6am on 1 July», Mr. Millman said. «A few hours later, the boat began to leak and capsized during the confusion and frantic movements of the dozens of people on board».

Noting that «this is not the first such tragedy this year», IOM said in a statement that two rescues were carried out in May on two overloaded crafts.

On one vessel, 59 people went missing and 16 were rescued; on the second, 69 were saved. Both boats reportedly left Zwara.

So far this year, the UN migration agency has reported 426 deaths from drowning linked to attempts to cross the central Mediterranean route to Europe.

Some 3,750 people have been returned to systematic and arbitrary detention – where they remain at risk as clashes continue in Libya’s capital, IOM noted.

Benedetto Loprete

Source:
Peace and Security.
03.07.2019: «Libya detention centre airstrike could amount to a war crime» has said the Secretary General of the United Nations, Her Excellency Honourable António Guterres in his Statement of the 3rd of july 2019 calling for independent investigation.

Source:
Peace and Security.
05.07.2019: Six children among 53 confirmed fatalities after Libya detention centre airstrikes.

Source:
03.07.2019: «Libya detention centre airstrike could amount to a war crime» has said the Secretary General of the United Nations, Her Excellency Honourable António Guterres in his Statement of the 3rd of july 2019 calling for independent investigation.

Source:
03.07.2019: «Libya detention centre airstrike could amount to a war crime» has said the Secretary General of the United Nations, Her Excellency Honourable António Guterres in his Statement of the 3rd of july 2019 calling for independent investigation.