By Sami Zaptia.
London, 30 May 2020:
There has been condemnation of the massacre of 30 illegal migrants in the town of Mizda by the internationally recognized Libyan government in Tripoli, UNSMIL and the US.
The Tripoli Interior Ministry reported Thursday that a Libyan people trafficker had been killed by one or more illegal migrants held in a people trafficking warehouse in Mizda, 183 km south of Tripoli. In revenge for his death, members of his family massacred 26 Bangladeshi and four African migrants. Eleven others were injured and were taken to Zintan hospital, the Interior Ministry said.
The Tripoli Foreign and Interior Ministries assured that they will bring those responsible to justice.
Meanwhile, in a statement yesterday, Yacoub El Hillo, UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Libya said he was shocked by the horrific deaths.
He condemned human trafficking and smuggling in the strongest possible way, which he said constitute a grave violation of international human rights law and should not go unpunished.
He said authorities with influence on the ground in the area where this incident took place have the responsibility to ensure that human smugglers and traffickers are not allowed to continue with their inhuman and degrading acts. Such heinous and merciless crime against helpless individuals should be investigated immediately and those responsible must be brought to justice, he added.
He confirmed that migrant holding centres run by criminal networks, such as the one in Mizda, are prevalent in Libya and bear witness to the abuse, exploitation, extortion and violence against migrants. It is just one example of the many risks, migrants face in the country.
He explained that there are more than 654,000 migrants and refugees in Libya; many of whom face arbitrary detention, gender-based violence, forced labor, extortion and exploitation. The continued arbitrary detention of thousands of migrants and refugees in both official centres and informal smuggler sites is a critical concern. It is deplorable to see the basic human rights of the migrants in Mizda were not respected, and that a lack of regard for their safety led to this senseless atrocity, El Hillo said.
Safeguarding people’s lives, respecting and protecting their human rights, and ensuring their wellbeing is a national responsibility and is the highest priority of the United Nations and wider humanitarian community. Those responsible for the attack must be held accountable. The impunity with which smugglers and traffickers operate in Libya must be brought to an immediate stop, he concluded.