Fighting in Libya endangers Refugees and Migrants

The remains of the Tajoura Detention Center after the July 2 airstrike The remains of the Tajoura Detention Center after the July 2 airstrike UNSMIL/Georg Friedrich

30 January 2020

Civil war intensifies and civilians lose their lives in an “atmosphere of chaos”

Libya, one of the world’s largest oil producers, is home to more than 636,000 refugees and migrants, according to human rights activists. On July 2, an airstrike devastated the Tajoura Detention Centre located just outside Libya’s capital city, Tripoli. Earlier this month at least 30 people lost their lives in a military academy attack. Three more were killed and dozens injured on January 26 due to government conflict.

Fighting in the country has amplified since 2011 when Mummar Gaddafi, the nation’s leader, was killed in a riot. Currently, the nation is divided by two rival administrations: the internationally-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) and the House of Representatives, which aligns itself with the Libyan National Army (LNA). Various diplomatic efforts have been made to resolve the conflict, but violence persists in the nation. 

Jeff Crisp, a research fellow at the Refugee Studies Centre at the University of Oxford told Al Jazeera that the conflict will likely only intensify from here, becoming deadlier and “making life even more precarious for the country’s refugee and migrant population.” The conflict has forced migrants to utilize one of the deadliest migration routes in the world with the aim of seeking safety in Europe.

The UN Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, told UN News that “the Tajoura attack, depending on the precise circumstance, may amount to a war crime.” The UN has called for those who are responsible for the July airstrike to be brought to justice, though this has yet to be accomplished. 

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Author: Teagan Foti; Editor: Noelle Musolino

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