Dear UNHCR personnel operating in Libya,
A group of ordinary people is writing to you representing of a big group of refugees imprisoned in the Libyan lagers where you operate.
For over a year, we have been following the sufferings of almost a hundred people and we came across the competences of and the role played by UNHCR in the infernal system of Libyan lagers.
Today we are asking you a very precise thing:
The execution of an anti-torture protocol in the Libyan lagers in which you operate.
Torture is common practice in the lagers. Military personnel operating in the lagers use brutal torture to punish refugees.
The people in Tajoura, as you maybe know, talk about a room with an electric chair which seems to be used regularly.
In Italy, a Parliamentary question time to discuss these issues was requested on the 29th of May 2019.
These stories are not a mystery. Even we know them, and we are Italian mothers, students, workers.
And during the last few months, it was precisely an Italian mother the person who reported the tortures, giving photos and accounts of witnesses to lawyers all over Europe. She called Doctors without Borders to have someone go and take care of broken limbs and cuts and bruises caused by electrocutions.
She asked the doctors to bring the people away from the lager. They told her that that was not possible. Only UNHCR can decide who stays and who goes.
Did you help those people? Did you remove them from the tortures?
No, you did not.
The tortured lately have even stopped reporting the tortures. Why? Because they feel that it is completely pointless. They know that they are going to be left there. Forever.
To report means to be brutally abused the following days as well. The same thing happens for rapes. Lately all the reports are made by other prisoners.
However, things cannot go on this way.
I am asking to UNHCR the execution of a anti-torture protocol:
UNHCR must remove the victims of torture from the lager bringing them somewhere else.
UNHCR should remove once and for all the victims of torture from the system of lagers.
Can UNHCR do that? Can it remove someone from Libyan lagers?
Yes, it can.
The former Italian minister of the Interior Matteo Salvini has declared that “Detention centres in Libya cannot be called prisons or torture centres as the UN is there”.
So, I ask the UNHCR to confront Salvini:
If Salvini is correct, then UNHCR must immediately activate the anti-torture protocol that we are asking for.
If the UNHCR does not have any power of intervention in the Libya Lagers, then Italy should immediately block any support to the Libyan maritime police and make it illegal to be able to deport people in Libya.