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Glimpse Into A Migration Detention Centre

Inside A Libyan Migration Detention Centre
With packed rooms, people have to sit on the floor in the hall.
Glimpse Into A Migration Detention Centre
Unable to go back home and terrified of returning to sea, detained migrants are in limbo.
9/12/2016 | Zuwara

by Tawfiq Abua'ajaja

The story of migration as it has been told, often begins with the departure of boats from the Libyan coast. But what happens inside Libya remains largely unknown. Those ending up in the detention centre of the coastal town Zuwara have taken boats from nearby shores and got picked up by Libyan coast guards. The location is a notorious point of trafficking. Fishermen are often the informants for authorities. Coast guards claim to rescue people from a likely death at sea by returning them to Libya. But other organisations active in the Mediterranean, such as the private German rescue initiative Sea Watch, have criticised the coast guard's harsh treatment of migrants, including one incident in October, in which guards attacked and killed seven migrants at sea.

Those in detention in Zuwara at the time of the video had been rescued from a boat carrying 138 people just one day before. Because of a lack of space and resources, the centre they found themselves in lacked basic necessities, such as beds or sufficient sanitary facilities. People are kept in large groups together in one room. Many had only one wish: not to go back at sea.

Image: Tawfiq Abua'ajaja