UNHCR calls for investigation into Tajoura detention centre attack

The refugee agency said the attack highlighted the perilous situation migrants and refugees face when returned to Libya 

At least 40 people were killed in an air strike on a migrant detention centre
At least 40 people were killed in an air strike on a migrant detention centre

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has called for a full and independent investigation into an air strike that hit a migrant detention centre leaving 40 people dead and a further 80 injured.

The attack happened at the Tajoura Detention Centre, in an eastern suburb of Tripoli. 

Both the UNHCR and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) condemned the attack. 

“Our two organizations strongly condemn this and any attack on civilian life. We also call for an immediate end to detention of migrants and refugees. We call for a guarantee of their protection in Libya,” the statement read. 

The refugee agencies said that the attack highlights the dangers migrants and refugees face when returned to Libya after their interception or rescue. 

The Tajoura facility held at least 600 refugees and migrants. 

“We expect the final death toll to include many more victims,” the UNHCR said.

The UNHCR also called for centres similar to the one in Tajoura, to be shutdown. 

“Migrants and refugees face increasing risks as clashes intensify nearby. These centres must be closed,” they said. 

Medical assistance is also being offered by the UNHCR and the IOM. 

“We are doing all we can to help. IOM and UNHCR have dispatched medical teams, while a wider UN inter-agency team awaits clearance to visit the area,” the statement read. 

IOM’s Voluntary Humanitarian Return operations have also assisted in the departure of more than 5,000 vulnerable individuals returning to 30 countries of origin in Africa and Asia.

The agencies have also called for the international community to provide humanitarian corridors for migrants and refugees. 

“For the sake of all in Libya, we hope that states with influence will redouble their efforts to cooperate in urgently bringing an end to this terrible conflict,” the statement read. 

READ MORE: Airstrike on Tripoli migrant detention centre leaves at least 40 dead

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