Added: Isaura Devries - Date: 19.12.2021 17:38 - Views: 47358 - Clicks: 9083
A group of teenage migrant girls housed in a government-run detention centre in Libya have accused guards at the facility, funded by the European Union, of sexually assaulting them, according to a report by the Associated Press. A year-old Somali girl, whose identity has been kept anonymous, told AP that she was raped by a guard at the Shara al-Zawiya centre in the capital, Tripoli, in April.
More girls from the centre have come out with similar allegations, with some sharing their ordeal with AP. The teenager was rescued by Libyan security forces in February more than two years after she was captured by traffickers, who sexually abused her. Traffickers are notorious for extorting from, torturing and assaulting migrants and refugees like her trying to reach Europe.
But the year-old said the sexual assaults against her have continued, only now by guards at the government-run centre where many of the migrants or refugees are being kept. She and four other Somali teenagers undergoing similar abuses are pleading to be released from the Shara al-Zawiya Local girls in Libua.
The Associated Press does not identify victims of sexual assault, and the young woman also asked not to be named, fearing reprisals. Smugglers and traffickers in Libya — many of them members of militias — have long been notorious for brutalising migrants. The group of teens are the only migrants being kept at Shara al-Zawiya, a facility where usually migrants stay only short periods for processing.
Human rights organisations say they have been trying to secure their release for weeks. After their rescue from traffickers in February, the year-old was brought along with eight other young female migrants to Shara al-Zawiya. Four of the others were later released under unclear circumstances. One night in April, around midnight, she said she asked a guard to let her go to the toilet. When she finished, the guard attacked her and grabbed her forcefully, she recalled. The guard assault her while she cried, struggled and pleaded for him to get off her.
Terrified, she returned to her cell and told one of the other girls what had happened. She soon learned she was not the only victim. All the girls, aged 16 to 18, had experienced similar or worse abuse by guards, she said. A year-old in the same cell told the AP she started being sexually harassed a few days after arriving at the centre.
When she pleaded with a guard to call her family, he gave her a phone and let her out of her cell to call her mother. Once she hung up, he stood behind her and grabbed her, she said. She removed his hands and started Local girls in Libua cry. The guard only stopped after realising other employees were at the centre, she said. At least two of the girls attempted to kill themselves in late May following alleged beatings and attempted rapes, according to local rights group Libyan Crime Watch and UN agencies.
One of them, a year-old, was taken to hospital on May 28 and treated by the international aid group Doctors Without Borders Medecins Sans Frontieres, or MSF only to be returned to the detention centre. At least people are known to have either died or gone missing taking this route on unseaworthy boats so far this year. Nearly 13, men, women and children — a record — have been intercepted by the Libyan Coast Guard and returned to Libyan shores from the start of the year up to June Most are then placed in DCIM-run centres.
At some of the 29 DCIM-run centres around the country, rights groups have documented a lack of basic hygiene, healthcare, food and water as well as beatings and torture. Libya has been applauded by the West for a ceasefire reached last year and the appointment of an interim government earlier this year, prompting visits by European leaders and the reopening of some embassies. Despite seemingly growing political stability, activists and human rights organisations say their access to migrants in detention centres is becoming more restricted.
Even when cases are documented and alleged perpetrators arrested, they are often released due to the lack of witnesses willing to testify for fear of reprisals. For example, Abdel-Rahman Milad, who was under UN sanctions and was arrested last year on charges of human trafficking and fuel smuggling, walked free in April without trial. The ship was reportedly carrying some people, with rescue teams saying little hope of finding survivors.
Charity ship sails to Sicily with people while coastguard and border police brought others to Lampedusa. Smugglers and traffickers Smugglers and traffickers in Libya — many of them members of militias — have long been notorious for brutalising migrants.
Sexual harassment A year-old in the same cell told the AP she started being sexually harassed a few days after arriving at the centre. Continued human rights violations The UNHCR said it was working with Libyan authorities for the release of the five young women still held at Shara al-Zawiya and their subsequent evacuation from Libya. More than migrants feared dead as boat capsizes off Libya. Several Europe-bound migrants drown off Libya coast: UN. More than migrants rescued in Mediterranean head to Italy. More from News. Nine killed as skydiving plane crashes in Sweden.
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