Report by the International Detention Coalition

“In June 2014, African Members of the International Detention Coalition (IDC) met in Kampala, Uganda. They decided to undertake combined information gathering about immigration detention, with a focus on the detention of children, with the hope of triggering meaningful advocacy actions at National and Regional Levels, aiming to reduce, and ultimately end, the use of immigration detention. Taking a solutions-focussed approach, at least one member organisation from each of the countries of Libya, Egypt, Tanzania, Kenya, Zambia, and South Africa conducted mapping of legislation, policy and practice related to immigration detention and alternatives to immigration detention in their national contexts.1 This summary outlines the key findings drawn from this combined data, which was submitted to IDC by members, governments and international actors in late 2015. This data was supplemented by desk-based research between July – September 2016. Further countries will be mapped in the future. ”

The country detention profile on Libya (p. 23) states:

“Migrants from Eritrea, Ethiopia, Sudan, Somalia and Syria are exposed to arbitrary and indefinite detention by both government and militia groups who have controlled the war-torn country since the fall of Gaddafi in 2011. Libyan law criminalizes entering, exiting and staying in Libya irregularly and allows for the indefinite detention of foreign nationals for the purpose of deportation [Law No. 6, Regulating Entry, Residence and Exit of Foreign Nationals to and from Libya of 1987]. There is no official distinction between asylum seekers, refugees, migrants, and trafficked persons and the country is not bound to any international conventions creating a right to asylum. However, they have ratified the Convention Against Torture, which specifies the obligation of non-refoulement, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Those individuals who are detained often stay in centres for many months and are subject to fines and imprisonment from one day to three years [under Section 6 in Law 19 of 2010]. In practice, detainees may be imprisoned indefinitely though some local level officials have shown initiative in creating safe release-to-work schemes and allowing the occasional release of vulnerable individuals into the care of NGOs who can provide housing and medical care. Evidence that anti-black racism is endemic does exist however, with Sub-Saharan African migrants seemingly unfairly targeted and detained in comparison with Arabic migrants who are generally tolerated in the community even without formal documentation. Unable to challenge detention or access legal protection, for the majority of people released may only be possible through bribery or forced labour. Despite attempts by some civil society actors and international organisations to advocate on behalf of detainees, the volatile political situation in Libya means there is no clear authority in some areas and prevents many laws from being enforced. Poor treatment of detainees is possible with minimum accountability, along with and pressure from the EU to prevent migratory flows heading towards Europe, has resulted in a damaging detention system that looks set to expand in an unsustainable manner.”