Humanitarian organisations are raising the alarm about the dire situation for migrants and refugees stuck in detention centres in and around Tripoli, where heavy clashes have been ongoing for the past six weeks, and demand they be evacuated from Libya as soon as possible.
Migrants and refugees intercepted in the Mediterranean Sea while attempting the illegal crossing to Europe are taken to Libya, as per a deal struck in 2016 between the European Union and the North African country. They are then kept in detention centres to await repatriation or deportation.
About 20 such detention centres are thought exist in the country. Tripoli and its surroundings count five of them but they host about half of the 6,000 people detained in such centres across Libya.
Often foreign nationals with nowhere else to go or anyone to turn to, they are particularly exposed to the fighting between the forces loyal to the Tripoli-based UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) and those who support the eastern Libyan National Army (LNA) led by the rebel general Khalifa Haftar
NGOs including Human Rights Watch (HWR) and Doctors Without Borders (MSF) have condemned reports of torture, deprivation of food and medical care, extortion and sexual violence at the detention centres and have warned that conditions have grown direr since the LNA launched an offensive in early April to capture Tripoli.