Some analysts also think it has wrecked years of diplomacy, including attempts by the UN to try to build political consensus in Libya, where various militias support the two major rivals for power: the Tripoli-based GNA and the Haftar-backed House of Representatives, based in the eastern city of Tobruk.
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Media reports and eyewitnesses in the city said residents face agonising decisions about when to go out, and risk the indiscriminate fire, in search of food and other essentials from the few shops that are open. One resident said those in Tripoli face the dilemma of whether to stay in their homes or leave, with no clear idea of what part of the city will be targeted next.
The fighting is reportedly most intense in the southern suburbs, which until two weeks ago included some of the most tranquil and luxurious homes in the city. Now these districts are a rubble-strewn battleground, made worse by the ever-changing positions of LNA forces and militias that support the GNA.
This battle comes to a city already struggling with chaos and militia violence, with residents having known little peace since the NATO-backed revolt eight years ago. Hospitals are unsanitary and barely function. Education is a shambles of poor schools and stressed teachers. Only a handful of aid agencies have a presence in Tripoli, where local services are now badly stretched.
The World Health Organisation reported on 14 April that the death toll was and people had been wounded, cautioning that the latter figure may be higher as some overworked hospitals have stopped counting the numbers treated. Migrants and refugees. Some of the worst off are more than 1, migrants trapped in a string of detention centres in the capital and nearby. At least one media report said migrants and refugees at the centre felt they had been abandoned and feared for their lives.
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UNHCR estimates there are some , migrants and refugees in Libya, including more than 6, in detention centres. In its appeal, UNICEF said it was alarmed by reports that some migrant detention centres have been all but abandoned, with the migrants unable to get food and water. Search-and-rescue missions run by nongovernmental organisations have had to slow down and sometimes shutter their operations as European governments refuse them permission to dock.
On Monday, Malta said it would not allow the crew of a ship that had been carrying 64 people rescued off the coast of Libya to disembark on its shores. The ship was stranded for two weeks as European governments argued over what to do with the migrants, who will now be split between four countries. Eugenio Cusumano, an international security expert specialising in migration research at Lieden University in the Netherlands, said a new surge of migrants and refugees may now be heading across the sea in a desperate attempt to escape the fighting.
International diplomatic efforts to end the fighting appear to have floundered. The UN had hoped the discussions, known as the National Conference, might pave the way for elections later this year, but they ended up being cancelled due to the upsurge in fighting.
Guterres tried to de-escalate the situation by holding emergency talks with the GNA in Tripoli and flying east to see Haftar in Benghazi. But as foreign powers reportedly line up behind different sides, his calls for a ceasefire — along with condemnation from the UN Security Council and the EU — have so far been rebuffed.
The Abu Selim detention centre is one of several in Libya that has been impacted by hostilities since clashes erupted in the capital almost a fortnight ago. Refugees at the centre told UNHCR that they were petrified and traumatised by the fighting, fearing for their lives. UNHCR staff who were present and organizing the relocation today reported that clashes were around 10 kilometres away from the centre and were clearly audible.
While UNHCR intended to relocate more refugees, due to a rapid escalation of fighting in the area this was not possible. UNHCR hopes to resume this life-saving effort as soon as conditions on the ground allow. Refugees who were relocated today were among those most vulnerable and in need and included women and children. In addition to those remaining at Abu Selim, other detention centres impacted and in proximity to hostilities include the Qasr Bin Ghasheer, Al Sabaa and Tajoura centres.
Current conditions in the country continue to underscore the fact that Libya is a dangerous place for refugees and migrants, and that those rescued and intercepted at sea should not be returned there. UNHCR has repeatedly called for an end to detention for refugees and migrants. Migrants locked in detention camps in Tripoli face increasing danger as the prospect of a drawn-out siege looms. Inconsistent responses from Europe to the crisis have left them little hope.
Refugees and migrants request immediate medical assistance as several people are reportedly wounded by gunfire. Young refugees held in a detention centre in Libya have described being shot at indiscriminately by militias advancing on Tripoli, in an attack that reportedly left at least two people dead and up to 20 injured. Phone footage smuggled out of the camp and passed to the Guardian highlights the deepening humanitarian crisis in the centres set up to prevent refugees and migrants from making the sea crossing from the north African coast to Europe.
The footage shows people cowering in terror in the corners of a hangar while gunshots can be heard and others who appear to have been wounded lying on makeshift stretchers. The shooting on Tuesday at the Qasr bin Ghashir detention centre, 12 miles 20km south of Tripoli, is thought to be the first time a militia has raided such a building and opened fire.
Witnesses said men, women and children were praying together when soldiers they believe to be part of the forces of the military strongman Khalifa Haftar, which are advancing on the Libyan capital to try to bring down the UN-backed government, stormed into the detention centre and demanded people hand over their phones.
When the occupants refused, the soldiers began shooting, according to the accounts. Phones are the only link to the outside world for many in the detention centres. Amnesty International has called for a war crimes investigation into the incident. The Guardian has previously revealed there is a network of 26 Libyan detention centres where an estimated 6, refugees are held. Children have described being starved, beaten and abused by Libyan police and camp guards.
Qasr bin Ghashir is on the frontline of the escalating battle in Libya between rival military forces. We are in a bad situation. Not any organisations.
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Please, please, please, a lot of blood going out from people. Please, we are in dangerous conditions, please world, please, we are in danger. Many of the children and young people in the detention centres have fled persecution in Eritrea and cannot return. Many have also tried to cross the Mediterranean to reach Italy, but have been pushed back by the Libyan coastguard, which receives EU funding.
Giulia Tranchina, an immigration solicitor in London, has been raising the alarm for months about the plight of refugees in the centres. Some were previously imprisoned by traffickers in Libya for one to two years. Tranchina took a statement from a man who escaped from the centre after the militia started shooting. The women joined us for prayer. I saw gunshot wounds to the head and neck, I think that without immediate medical treatment, those people would die. Many were left behind and we have heard that they have been locked in. EU support to the Libyan coastguard, which is part of the navy, has enabled it to intercept migrants and asylum seekers bound for Europe.
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The legal action seeks a suspension on the boat donation, saying it violates an EU embargo on the supply of military equipment to Libya. There have been reports on deaths and forced enlistment among migrants and refugees trapped in detention centres, which are overseen by the Libyan Department for Combating Illegal Migration but often run by militias. Amid the intense fighting the EU-backed Libyan coastguard continues to intercept and return people trying to cross the Mediteranean.
Per questo chiediamo la loro immediata evacuazione. Libia, attacco aereo al centro migranti. Nos deux organisations condamnent fermement cette attaque ainsi que toute attaque contre la vie des civils. Nous faisons tout notre possible pour leur venir en aide.
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Depuis janvier, plus de 2. Raickman de MSF. Migrants who survived the deadly airstrike on a detention center in western Libya say they had been conscripted by a local militia to work in an adjacent weapons workshop. The detention centers are under armed groups affiliated with the Fayez al-Sarraj government in Tripoli. Two migrants told The Associated Press on Thursday that for months they were sent day and night to a workshop inside the Tajoura detention center, which housed hundreds of African migrants.
I saw a large amount of rockets and missiles too. Gaetano Pecoraro ci racconta cosa volevano colpire veramente quelle bombe.
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Today is the occasion to remind the Libyan government of the urgency of the situation of detained refugees and migrants in and around Tripoli. Statement by the Spokesperson on the situation in the Tajoura detention centre. The release of the detainees remaining in the Tajoura detention centre, hit by a deadly attack on 2 July, is a positive step by the Libyan authorities. All refugees and migrants have to be released from detention and provided with all the necessary assistance.
In this context, we have supported the creation of the Gathering and Departure Facility GDF in Tripoli and other safe places in order to improve the protection of those in need and to provide humane alternatives to the current detention system. We call on all parties to accelerate humanitarian evacuation and resettlement from Libya to third countries. We are also working closely with the IOM and the African Union and its Member States to continue the Assisted Voluntary Returns, thereby adding to the more than 45, migrants returned to their countries of origin so far.
The European Union is strongly committed to fighting traffickers and smugglers and to strengthening the capacity of the Libyan Coast Guard to save lives at sea. Equally, we recall the need to put in place mechanisms that guarantee the safety and dignity of those rescued by the Libyan Coast Guard, notably by ending arbitrary detention and allowing the UN agencies to carry out screening and registration and to provide direct emergency assistance and protection.
Through our continuous financial support and our joined political advocacy towards the Libyan authorities, the UNHCR and IOM are now able to better monitor the situation in the disembarkation points and have regular access to most of the official detention centres. The European Union stands ready to help the Libyan authorities to develop solutions to create safe and dignified alternatives to detention in full compliance with the international humanitarian standards and in respect of human rights.