IOM Works to Improve Conditions in Libyan Immigration Detention Centre

Libya - IOM Libya is working with officials at the Gharyan Al Hamra detention centre, about 90 kilometres south of Tripoli, to respond to an emerging humanitarian crisis after a migrant died at the facility on 6 November, the fourth such migrant death in the last three weeks.

IOM Libya was conducting a scheduled medical assessment for the 1,798 migrants when a seriously ill migrant was discovered. Detention centre officials immediately transferred the patient to the Yerevan clinic, 90 kilometres away, where the patient died.

Since reports of previous deaths – the first on 14 October – IOM Libya, along with its international partners and officials from Libya’s Directorate for Combatting Illegal Migration (DCIM), and the detention centre, have been working to improve living conditions at the facility. 

As a result, IOM Libya implemented an emergency response plan, focusing on addressing the medical needs for the detained migrants, including treatment for scabies, disinfecting and fumigating living areas, and distributing winter clothing, blankets, bedding, and other needed materials. 

Detention centre staff have also identified as many as 300 unaccompanied children being detained and have started removing them from the adult population, with the assistance of IOM Libya and other international and local partners. 

The head of the DCIM in the area has invited human rights organizations to visit the centre and provide further assistance.

Meanwhile yesterday (07/11), representatives from seven African countries visited the detention centre to assess the situation and facilitate the potential humanitarian repatriation of migrants wishing to leave Libya.

“IOM is working with DCIM, and other local and international partners, to quickly and comprehensively address the immediate needs of the migrants at the centre,” said IOM Libya’s Chief of Mission Othman Belbeisi.

IOM continues to support migrants at Libyan detention centres. “So far this year, we have provided 17,299 migrants with direct assistance, including non-food items and/or hygiene kits,” added Belbeisi.

IOM has also assisted 2,436 migrants to return to their home countries through IOM’s assisted voluntary return program. About 20 percent of this caseload is provided with reintegration assistance. The return program includes individual counselling and vulnerability screening, immediate direct assistance, assistance to obtain travel documents, other consular services and pre-departure health checks.

Together with local Libyan partners IOM has also established medical teams in different areas to cover a significant number of migrants in detention centres. Medical teams offer medical consultations, treatment and at times referral to a clinic in the area for the cases that need to be treated in specialized health facilities. These cases have included burns, scabies and malnutrition.

IOM, in coordination with the Libyan Coast Guard and Libyan Port Security, has also established three fully equipped medical clinics at the country’s main migrant disembarkation points in Tripoli, Garaboli and Zliten. The clinics will be able to immediately assist rescued-at-sea migrants, including women and children, who arrive, often suffering from dehydration and in a dire need of medical assistance.

So far in 2016, 15,385 migrants have been rescued off the Libyan coast. 

For further information, please contact IOM Libya. Othman Belbeisi, Tel: +216 29 600389, Email: or Ashraf Hassan, Tel +216 29 794707, Email: