Washington [US], December 11 (ANI): Asylum-seekers and other migrants continue to be forcefully expelled from Libya, raising concerns at the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).
Speaking to journalists in Geneva, Spokesperson Rupert Colville pointed out a "continuing series" of expulsions, including two large groups of Sudanese over the past month, and another group of 24 Eritreans, apparently at imminent risk of similar treatment.
According to a team on the ground, on Monday a group of 18 Sudanese individuals were expelled without due process after being transferred between two detention centres. They were apparently transported across the Sahara Desert to the Libya-Sudan border area and dumped there.
A month earlier, on 5 November, another group of 19 Sudanese were deported.
In recent months, other migrants from Sudan, Eritrea, Somalia and Chad, including children and pregnant women, have also been detained and have either already been expelled or may be at any moment.
According to Colville, these actions contravene the prohibition of collective expulsions and the principle of non-refoulement, that establishes that those seeking asylum may not be returned to a country in which there are reasonable grounds to believe they will be subjected to persecution.
The Sudanese expelled on Monday, for example, were reportedly arrested, detained and arbitrarily expelled without being afforded an individual assessment of their circumstances and protection needs, such as risk of persecution, torture and ill-treatment in their home country.
"They were not granted access to legal assistance, and were not able to challenge the lawfulness of the expulsion order", the Spokesperson said.
In addition, they were not given access to relevant UN organizations, including the UN Mission's (UNSMIL) Human Rights Service, during their time in detention.
Of immediate concern, the Spokesperson informed, is a group of 24 Eritreans who were being held in the same Ganfouda detention centre, and who are believed also to be at risk of imminent deportation. (ANI)