The European Union led by Italy has been supporting Libyan authorities to stem the illegal trafficking of humans on the Mediterranean.
Libyan coastguards have been receiving training and have set up camps to detain the migrants arrested while trying the crossing or preparing to try the dangerous adventure.
Te United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Zeid Ra’ad decried as “appalling” the conditions in the camps established in the Libyan capital.
Ra’ad who presented the report of an UN mission to four camps in Tripoli, from November 1 to 6, said “The suffering of migrants detained in Libya is an outrage to the conscience of humanity”.
“Monitors were shocked by what they witnessed: thousands of emaciated and traumatized men, women and children piled on top of one another, locked up in hangars with no access to the most basic necessities, and stripped of their human dignity,” Ra’ad said.
Up to 20,000 people were detained in those camps in early November from an initial number of 7,000 recorded in mid-September.
The increase came after authorities detained thousands of people previously held by smugglers in Libya’s trafficking hub Sabratha, west of Tripoli, reports say.
The migrants, according to the UN official, are facing modern slavery, rape, sexual violence and unlawful killings.
Over 111,700 people tried to reach European shores over the past 10 months this year and close to 3,000 people died in the dangerous crossing.
Following the agreement between Libya and Italy to stem the illegal human trafficking, the number of arrivals has decreased.