Pope urges countries to stop returning migrants to 'concentration camps' in Libya

Pope urges countries to stop returning migrants to 'concentration camps' in Libya
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Pope FrancisPope Francis Pope calls on young people to protect environment The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by ExxonMobil - Gosar censured as GOP drama heightens Equilibrium/Sustainability — Presented by Southern Company — Native solar startups see business as activism MORE on Sunday urged countries to stop returning migrants to “concentration camps” in Libya, contending that they suffer “inhumane violence” in those facilities.

Francis, while speaking to the public in St. Peter’s Square, urged the international community to find “lasting solutions” to manage the flow of migrants from Libya and other nations.

“I express my closeness to the thousands of migrants, refugees and others in need of protection in Libya,” Francis said, according to The Associated Press. “I never forget you, I hear your cries and I pray for you.”


“So many of these men, women and children are subject to inhumane violence,” he added. “Yet again I ask the international community to keep the promises to search for common, concrete and lasting solutions to manage the migratory flows in Libya and in all the Mediterranean.”

The pope noted the particular suffering of migrants who are returned to other countries after being rescued at sea, adding that the Libyan facilities they are held in “are true concentration camps.”

“We need to stop sending back [migrants] to unsafe countries and to give priority to the saving of human lives at sea with protocols of rescue and predictable disembarking, to guarantee them dignified conditions of life, alternatives to detention, regular paths of migration and access to asylum procedures,” Francis said.

The pontiff’s comments join the chorus of scrutiny from United Nations refugee agency and human rights organizations that have condemned the Libyan migrant facilities, where beatings, rape and other forms or torture have been documented, according to the AP.

A U.N. investigation published earlier this month found that Libya has likely been committing war crimes and crimes against humanity since 2016, primarily against civilians and migrants who were detained when traveling to Europe.

The report was released amid the country’s recent crackdown and detention of more than 5,000 migrants, some of of whom are women and children, according to the AP.

Libya has served as a transit point for migrants who are leaving poverty and war in Africa and the Middle East.