GENEVA (Reuters) – Nearly half of all the violence checked out on African migrants during their journey to the Mediterranean coast is perpetrated by police, the United Nations refugee company UNHCR stated on Wednesday.
FILE IMAGE: Migrants are seen at the Anti-Illegal Migration Company shelter center in Tajoura near Tripoli, Libya April 24,2019 REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah/File Picture
According to a report by UNHCR and the Danish Refugee Council’s Mixed Migration Centre (MMC), countless refugees and migrants suffer severe abuse consisting of torture and sexual or gender-based violence, and sometimes death.
The report is based on almost 16,000 interviews with refugees and migrants.
” In 47%of the cases, the victims reported the wrongdoers of violence are law enforcement authorities, whereas in the past, we believe that it was primarily smugglers and traffickers,” Vincent Cochetel, UNHCR special envoy for the central Mediterranean, informed a news conference in Geneva.
” States have a responsibility that they require to discharge in that respect.”
UNHCR reported that 1,750 people had died in 2018 and 2019 attempting to reach the sea, but Cochetel stated the real numbers were likely to be higher.
” That is just the visible suggestion of the iceberg. There are many households looking for their loved ones along the routes, and there is no response to provide,” he stated.
In recent months, hundreds of migrants have been stopped at sea and sent out back to Libya in spite of the risk of violence there.
On Monday, Libyan authorities shot dead three Sudanese migrants trying to avoid detention as they disembarked from a failed attempt to cross the Mediterranean to Europe.
War-ravaged Libya is a significant transit point for migrants looking for to reach Europe and now hosts an approximated 654,000 of them, often living in confined conditions with little access to health care.
Composing by Michael Shields; Editing by Kevin Liffey