The situation in Libya has deteriorated significantly in recent months, with an outbreak of conflict which has put civilians, including migrants and refugees in danger. I am concerned by persistent reports of desperate conditions and mistreatment of migrants and refugees in detention centres. Recent reports of an outbreak of tuberculosis in some detention centres, with a number of people confirmed to have died of the disease in one detention centre, are a matter of particular concern. Ireland and the EU believe that detention centres are not a suitable place for migrants in Libya, and should be closed. This outbreak further underlines that this is the case.
Political fragmentation and the fragile security situation in Libya limit the capacity of the international community to access all areas where migrants are located, or to influence the situation on the ground. The EU provides support to the work of the UNHCR and IOM in Libya, which have staff on the ground there, and who are best placed to provide protection and assistance to vulnerable migrants and refugees in detention centres and elsewhere. They are also working on relocating migrants and refugees to safer places, both inside Libya, and where voluntary return is possible, to their countries of origin.
Ultimately, ensuring adequate treatment of migrants and refugees will require restoration of political stability, and a fully functioning Government. Ireland and the EU continue to support the efforts of the UN Special Representative, Ghassan Salamé, to bring this about. All Libyans, and all international parties, should give their full support to the UN-led political efforts, and parties should ensure that they follow through on commitments made during the talks. All EU Member States have called on the parties to the conflict in Libya to immediately implement a ceasefire, and to re-engage in the UN-led process for an inclusive political settlement. This is the only way to ensure that civilians in Libya, including migrants and refugees, will no longer have to endure the mistreatment and desperate conditions that have been reported.