“This study paints a damning picture of the immigration detention of young migrants, asylum seekers and refugees in Libya today. Based on in-depth interviews with 45 former detainees (85 per cent of whom were unaccompanied children or young people), the study reveals a consistent pattern of arbitrary detention; of people held for months at a time without any form of due process in squalid, cramped conditions. Detention occurs in facilities across the country, many of which are reported to be under the control of the governing authorities or militia forces. Serious violations, including allegations of violence and brutality, are said to be commonplace, including in some of Libya’s most well-known detention centres.

As the first study of its kind to assess the particular plight of detained refugee, asylum-seeking and migrant children and youth in Libya’s immigration detention centres, it provides timely information about the current situation in the country. The right to liberty and freedom from arbitrary detention is among the most fundamental of rights belonging to all human beings, and its consistent denial, especially to vulnerable minors and young people, is a matter of the gravest concern. The absence of a humane and orderly framework for handling migration flows in Libya is no doubt a contributing factor to the ever increasing numbers of migrants, asylum seekers and refugees willing to risk their lives in the Mediterranean to reach the safety of Europe.”