OHCHR / LIBYA REPORT

11-Oct-2022 00:02:39
Widespread and systematic human rights violations and abuses against migrants in Libya are compounded by the lack of pathways to protection within and outside the country – meaning migrants are often compelled to accept ‘assisted return’ to their home countries in conditions that may not meet international human rights laws and standards, according to a new UN human rights report released today. OHCHR
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STORY: OHCHR / LIBYA REPORT
TRT: 03:01
SOURCE: OHCHR
RESTRICTIONS: PLEASE CREDIT OHCHR ON SCREEN
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH/NATS

DATELINE: 11 OCTOBER 2022 GENEVA, SWITZERLAND
SHOTLIST
1. Wide shot, exterior, flag alley, Palais de Nations
2. Wide shot, press room
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Ravina Shamdasani, Spokesperson, Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR):
“Migrants are frequently compelled to accept assisted return to escape abusive detention conditions, threats of torture, ill-treatment, sexual violence, enforced disappearance, extortion, and other human rights violations and abuses. Collectively, these conditions have created a coercive environment that is often inconsistent with free choice.”
4. Wide shot, podium
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Ravina Shamdasani, Spokesperson, Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR):
“‘Assisted returns’ are, in principle, meant to be voluntary. However, the report finds that, in reality, many migrants in Libya are unable to make a truly voluntary decision to return in accordance with international human rights law and standards. Many of them find they have no choice but to return to the same circumstances that made them leave their countries in the first place.”
6. Wide shot, podium
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Ravina Shamdasani, Spokesperson, Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR):
“Any migrant who is returned to a country that is experiencing adverse drivers and structural factors that compelled people to leave their country of origin, the adverse impact of climate change and environmental degradation, human rights violation and abuses, armed conflict, persecution, or a combination of these reasons, may end up in an even more vulnerable situation than before.”
8. Wide shot, participants, press room
9. SOUNDBITE (English) Ravina Shamdasani, Spokesperson, Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR):
“They brought me to a prison. But even at that point, I didn’t think about going back to Gambia. Then they entered the prison with a stick and were beating people like animals. Sometimes they would take your money and good clothes. They broke my teeth. So, I accepted return,” one of the migrants said.”
10. Wide shot, participants, press room
11. SOUNDBITE (English) Ravina Shamdasani, Spokesperson, Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR):
“Libya and involved States should take immediate steps to urgently address this untenable, unconscionable situation. Libyan authorities should immediately end all violations and abuses of migrants’ rights.”
12. Wide shot, participants, press room
13. SOUNDBITE (English) Ravina Shamdasani, Spokesperson, Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR):
“Other States too have responsibility here – they need to step up and provide more protection to migrants trapped in Libya by increasing safe and regular pathways of admission to their territories.”
14. Wide shot, participants, press room
15. SOUNDBITE (English) Ravina Shamdasani, Spokesperson, Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR):
“This desperate situation requires all concerned to ensure that no migrant is compelled to accept assisted return to an unsafe or unsustainable situation in their country of origin.”
16. Wide shot, participants, press room
STORYLINE
Widespread and systematic human rights violations and abuses against migrants in Libya are compounded by the lack of pathways to protection within and outside the country – meaning migrants are often compelled to accept ‘assisted return’ to their home countries in conditions that may not meet international human rights laws and standards, according to a new UN human rights report released today (11 Oct).

At the bi-weekly press briefing in Geneva, UN Human Rights spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani made the following statement on a new Human Rights report on violations of migrants’ rights amid ‘assisted return’ programmes.

“Migrants are frequently compelled to accept assisted return to escape abusive detention conditions, threats of torture, ill-treatment, sexual violence, enforced disappearance, extortion, and other human rights violations and abuses,” the report states. “Collectively, these conditions have created a coercive environment that is often inconsistent with free choice,” she said.

“‘Assisted returns’ are, in principle, meant to be voluntary. However, the report finds that, in reality, many migrants in Libya are unable to make a truly voluntary decision to return in accordance with international human rights law and standards. Many of them find they have no choice but to return to the same circumstances that made them leave their countries in the first place,” Shamdasani said.

“Any migrant who is returned to a country that is experiencing adverse drivers and structural factors that compelled people to leave their country of origin, the adverse impact of climate change and environmental degradation, human rights violation and abuses, armed conflict, persecution, or a combination of these reasons, may end up in an even more vulnerable situation than before,” Shamdasani said.

Returnees also face additional personal, financial, and psychosocial burdens due to the severe trauma they experienced in Libya.

The report says that in the absence of sustainable solutions to these problems, migrants may have to re-migrate in even more precarious circumstances.

The report contains testimony from some of the 65 immigrants interviewed by the UN Human Rights Office who had recently been returned to The Gambia.

“They brought me to a prison. But even at that point, I didn’t think about going back to Gambia. Then they entered the prison with a stick and were beating people like animals. Sometimes they would take your money and good clothes. They broke my teeth. So, I accepted return,” one of the migrants said.

Since 2015, more than 60,000 migrants in Libya have been repatriated to different countries of origin across Africa and Asia through ‘assisted return’ programmes, including at least 3,300 Gambians who have returned from Libya since 2017.

“Libya and involved States should take immediate steps to urgently address this untenable, unconscionable situation. Libyan authorities should immediately end all violations and abuses of migrants’ rights,” the UN Human Rights spokesperson said.

“Other States too have responsibility here – they need to step up and provide more protection to migrants trapped in Libya by increasing safe and regular pathways of admission to their territories,” she said.

“This desperate situation requires all concerned to ensure that no migrant is compelled to accept assisted return to an unsafe or unsustainable situation in their country of origin,” Shamdasani said in conclusion.
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