UK aid's role in Libyan detention centres

The Guardian reports that child refugees are being abused and starved in detention centres in Libya.

The conditions in these centres are appalling. This is why the UK government is encouraging the Libyan authorities to improve conditions in the centres and UK aid provides humanitarian support to those who are in them.

We have raised the need to respect the human rights of migrants, to ensure the provision of basic services, and to explore alternatives to detention centres directly with representatives of the Government of National Accord.

The UK government doesn’t fund the operational costs of these centres. UK aid provides basic humanitarian provisions where it is possible to do so whilst upholding humanitarian principles. Delivering aid in these centres has become increasingly challenging, at the moment we are only able to provide clothes and blankets, and offering calls to family members.

Alongside this, we are also working with the European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa (EUTF). Work supported by this fund improves conditions for migrants in detention centres, where it is possible to do so. Initiatives include providing safe spaces for the most vulnerable, installing air ventilation, water, sanitation and hygiene items, toilet facilities, and mobile medical assistance. It is also supporting efforts to improve awareness and respect for human rights and prevent abuse of those in these centres.

These efforts are part of a wider approach to protecting those who are travelling on the dangerous migration route into Libya.

UK aid is also making those migrating aware of the dangers ahead and supporting them to return voluntarily. We are educating people before they decide to travel to Libya, informing them about the living conditions and the other risks they may face, such as falling into the hands of human traffickers who might extort money from their families or abandon them in the desert.

We’re clear that the human rights situation in Libya can only be improved under the stability of a united and representative Government.

Outside detention centres we are working to boost political participation and economic development, and support the delivery of greater security and stability in Libya.  This is in addition to funding a two-year programme to provide humanitarian assistance to vulnerable people, this includes improving access to primary health care, building capacity of health workers and bolstering humanitarian coordination and capability.

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