UN Refugee Agency calls for migrants in Tripoli to be evacuated to safety

The UNHCR said that an airstrike had hit a target 100 metres away from a detention centre holding over 500 people yesterday

The UNHCR, the United Nations’ refugee agency has called for refugees and migrants being held in conflict areas around the Libyan capital Tripoli, to be evacuated to safety.

The appeal comes after an airstrike hit a target less than 100 metres away from Tajoura detention centre, which is currently holding over 500 refugees, the agency said.

It said that given the ongoing violence in Tripoli and the “clear risk to lives, it is now more urgent than ever that those responsible for these centres allow the immediate release of people being held there so they can be moved to safety”.

“The risks are simply unacceptable at this point,” said Vincent Cochetel, UNHCR Special Envoy for the Central Mediterranean. “People inside detention centres in Tripoli are facing ever-increasing dangers, making it vital that we immediately move them out of harm’s way.”

Fighting erupted in and around the capital back in April when General Khalifa Haftar ordered his self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) to mount an offensive on the capital.

The LNA has reached the southern outskirts of the capital, but have struggled to maintain momentum in their advance.

The fighting has so far killed roughly 450 people wounded 2,110 while displacing more than 55,000 more, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The UNHCR said that since starting began on 4 April, it had relocated over 1,200 persons from high-risk locations to safer areas, but it said some 3,460 refugees and migrants remain in detention centres near areas of conflict.

French President Emmanuel Macron yesterday called for a ceasefire in the conflict after meeting with Fayez al-Sarraj, the prime minister of the country’s Government of National Accord.