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Last Update: 7 Hour and 57 Minute ago
News code: 27811
Published Date: Saturday 6 July 2019 - 10:55:51
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Six children among fatalities in Libya detention centre airstrikes

Six children among fatalities in Libya detention centre airstrikes
World  - Speaking to journalists in Geneva, Joel Millman from the International Organization for Migration (IOM), said that six children were among the fatalities at the Tajoura site, where the more than 600 detainees came from at least 17 mainly African States.

Some 350 migrants - among them 20 women and four children - are still being held at Tajoura, the IOM spokesperson added, noting that he was unable to confirm reports that guards had fired on migrants trying to flee.

In the aftermath of Tuesday's devastation, the head of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) and Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Ghassan Salamé, led calls for an international inquiry, insisting it could "clearly...constitute a war crime".

Echoing that appeal, UNHCR's Charlie Yaxley noted that both parties involved in the fight for Tripoli - the UN-recognised Government and forces loyal to self-styled Libyan National Army commander, Khalifa Haftar - knew where civilians were sheltering.

"We reiterate once again that the coordinates of these detention centres in Tripoli are well-known to both sides of the conflict and this was a preventable tragedy that never should have happened", he said, while also noting that refugees had been "severely traumatized" after seeing fellow detainees dying.

"They spoke in a state of shock, they spoke to us about seeing their fellow detainees' body parts dismembered around the centre," he said.

According to IOM and UNHCR, 3,300 migrants and refugees remain arbitrarily detained inside and around Tripoli.

IOM's Mr. Millman further noted that approximately 180 of the 600 people held in Tajoura had agreed to be evacuated under IOM's voluntary repatriation programme, and that two of them had died in the airstrikes.

"We are not able to verify who is responsible for the attack, that's why there needs to be this independent investigation", UNCHR's Mr. Yaxley said. "What we can say is that, is at this point there does need to be greater efforts, far greater efforts from the international community, particularly amongst those States who have leverage over the warring parties to bring an end to the violence."

Addressing the dangers faced by those being held in Libya, Mr. Yaxley cited concerns that "some of these detention centres may be being used to store weapons and military equipment. We remind all parties that conflict is using civilian infrastructure in that way, would be a violation of international humanitarian law and must be avoided at all costs".

 

News Code: 27811
Published Date: Saturday 6 July 2019 - 10:55:51
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