HRW, UNSMIL slam eastern Libyan authorities for mass deportations

Jun 9, 2023 | International actors

On 9 June, Human Rights Watch (HRW) slammed eastern Libyan authorities for the mass deportation of Egyptian migrants, who were forced to leave Libya on foot after being detained and deported following last week’s raids on smuggler hideouts in eastern border towns. HRW associate director for the Middle East and North Africa, Hanan Salah, described the conditions under which the Egyptian migrants were rounded up as ‘incredibly violent and inhumane’, adding that the authorities responsible for this ‘need to explain themselves’. This came after Migrant Rescue Watch said that the deportations continued as recently as 8 June.

The United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) also expressed concerns about the mass ‘arbitrary arrests and deportations’ of thousands of migrants and asylum-seekers ‘across the country’, including pregnant women and children who were ‘being detained in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions’. The statement added that the campaign was ‘accompanied by a disturbing rise in hate speech and racist discourse against foreigners online and in the media’. UNSMIL also called on Libyan authorities to put an end to such actions and ‘treat migrants with dignity and humanity’, as well as to ‘grant UN agencies and INGOs unimpeded access to detainees in need of urgent protection’.