TRIPOLI, Feb 14 (Reuters) – A group of 159 Eritrean refugees were flown on Wednesday from the Libyan capital Tripoli to Niger for resettlement, the United Nations said.
The U.N. refugees agency (UNHCR) said that the refugees had been rescued from detention centres seen as “extremely overcrowded and lacking basic standards”.
Libya’s western coast is a main departure point for thousands of migrants trying to reach Europe, often on inflatable boats provided by smugglers.
Those who are returned to Libya after getting picked up by the coast guard are often abused, including forced labor and torture, as they pass through the hands of smuggling networks and armed groups, according to the U.N.
“In Libya, 6,205 migrants and refugees are still detained, of whom 4,327 are of concern to UNHCR,” the agency said. From Niger the refugees will be resettled into different countries. (Reporting by Ahmed Elumami, editing by Ulf Laessing and Phil Berlowitz)