Libya: Reports of human rights abuse

In this months edition of The MiddleEast Magazine, Mel Fryberg reports from Tripoli on the new Libya and the disturbing reports of human rights abuses being aimed at The Tawerghans coming out of the country…

The town of Tawergha, 25 miles south of Misrata, is a ghost town following the forced expulsion of the population of approximately 35,000 people during the revolution. Misratan militias sacked much of the city, burning and looting homes to prevent Tawerghans who comprised the majority of residents of several neighbourhood, including Ghoushi from returning.

Nafisa Muhammad’s eyes are blank and her body ap- pears numb as she shows TME footage of the mutilated corpses, which include near relatives. In a final act of cruelty the rebels who carried out the atrocity, filmed theirabominable work and distributed copies of the video to surviving family members.

Muhammad, a former secretary at Misrata university aged 33, is alone in her grief. Her toddler son and husband were killed during the fight for Misrata and she also lost one of her brothers in a firefight.

“Another brother, a civilian, was abducted at Benghazi airport several months ago by Misrata militiamen and beaten to death within a day of arriving at one of several detention camps being run by the brigades in Misrata,”she recalls. His only crime was being a black Tawerghan.

The Libyan human rights defense group, Lawyers for Justice in Libya (LFJL), issued a statement condemning the continuing attacks on Tawerghans, calling the violence: “an affront to the values that underpinned the Libyan revolution”. The LFJL have demanded an investigation and insist the perpetrators be brought to justice.

Reports of Tawerghans and other sub-Saharan migrants being brutalised in detention centres abound. “We are concerned about the mistreatment of detainees in the 25-30 detention centres throughout Libya. There are persistent rumors of pregnant women miscarrying due to abuse and the torture and beating of others detained by the militias and Libyan security personnel,” said UN High Commissioner for Refugees’ (UNHCR) Senior Protection Officer, Samuel Cheung.

“Many of the conditions under which detainees are held fall well below international standards with detainees denied adequate medical care and consistent access to food and water,” Cheung told The MiddleEast Magazine.

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