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The safety and wellbeing of children at high risk in detention centres in Libya

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TRIPOLI, 12 October 2021- The safety and wellbeing of at least 1,000 women and children – including five unaccompanied children and at least 30 infants – held in detention centres in Tripoli, Libya, is at immediate risk, UNICEF warned today.

Around 751 women and 255 children were among the thousands of migrants and asylum seekers caught up in recent mass arrests.

“Migrant and refugee children in Libya continue to face grave child rights violations including arbitrary detention,” said Ms. Cristina Brugiolo, acting UNICEF Special Representative to Libya. “Children are held under devastating and inhumane conditions in these detention centres. We can assume the actual number of children held may be much higher as many boys are reportedly placed in cells with adult males.”

Detention centres have been receiving far larger numbers than their capacity. Libya's largest detention centre, “Al Mabani”, is holding more than 5,000 people - four times its official capacity - including 100 children and 300 women. The 1,772 remaining detainees including 43 children and 106 women were transferred to the “Ain Zara” detention centre.

UNICEF and other humanitarian actors urge Libyan authorities to protect children and prevent their separation from their parents, caregivers, and families.

UNICEF calls for the immediate release of all children in detention centres across Libya.

“UNICEF stands ready with partners to provide technical support including alternative care arrangements for the detained children,” said Ms. Brugiolo.

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For more information:

Suad Almarani +218 912 508 648 Alla Almsri +218 9118 4182

About UNICEF Libya:

Since 2012, UNICEF has promoted the rights and wellbeing of children and their families in Libya. Together with our partners, we work throughout the country to reach children and their families through our Health, Nutrition, WASH, Education, Child Protection and Emergency Response interventions. We strengthen the linkages between humanitarian action and development programming, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and conflict-affected children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere in Libya.