IOM Organizes Visits to Libyan Detention Centres for West African Diplomats

Libya - For the first time in two years, representatives from eight West African embassies in Libya have visited detention centers inside and outside of Tripoli where their nationals are being held.

IOM worked with the Libyan authorities to facilitate the visit by diplomats from Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire, Mali, Guinea Conakry, Ghana, Nigeria, Niger and Gambia to the Al Garabulli detention center, an hour east of Tripoli on May 3rd. The center is currently holding 315 West African nationals.

The aim of the visit was for the diplomats to check on conditions in which their nationals are being held and explore possible ways and means for their release, as well as to identify those interested in voluntary humanitarian repatriation. Some 202 of the 315 held in Al Garabulli expressed an interest in voluntary return to their countries of origin.

On May 2nd another visit was organized to the Abu Salim detention center in Tripoli, where 450 West African migrants are being held. Diplomats from Nigeria, Niger, Gambia, Guinea Conakry and Senegal took part. Of the 450 migrants in center, 370 expressed an interest in voluntary repatriation.

IOM Libya Chief of Mission Othman Belbeisi said that the visits are valuable. “They are very important to maintain contact between the migrants and their embassies. They also strengthen IOM’s advocacy against the detention of irregular migrants and contribute to resolving their situation.”

For further information please contact Othman Belbeisi, IOM Libya, Tel. +216 29 600 389. Email: