African migrants in Libya bribe their way into detention centres-UNHCR

Stranded African Migrants

Desperate African migrants are paying their way into detention centres in Libya, the UNHCR said Thursday

These migrants are hoping to be eventually resettled out of war-torn Libya.

Vincent Cochetel is the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Special Envoy for the Central Mediterranean situation.

“Sometimes they feel better protected in detention centres than outside detention centres. Because some nationalities outside detention centres are targeted by human traffickers, are kidnapped, and then you have extortion, you have torture. So, some people don’t feel safe in many urban centres in Libya. So, some of them prefer to be detained, even if the conditions are not good in those detention centres. Others try to bribe their way to get inside the detention centre in the hope that UNHCR will resettle them”, he told journalists in Geneva, Switzerland.

The UNHCR laments the lack of resources to help empower the migrants.

“Our programmes are not very well resourced, around 35 percent in those countries. But, if we were able to meet their needs, mainly in the area of education, vocational training, job placements in those countries, those people, many of those refugees would not feel the urge to go to Libya and to try to see a better future by going through Libya basically”, Cochetel added.

In July, an airstrike by opposition forces killed more than 50 people at the Tajoura detention centre in Tripoli. There have been international pressure on countries to find a safe place for the trapped migrants and refugees.



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