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  • Adal Debretsion, an Eritrean teenager had reportedly been detained for more than a year in Sabaa detention center, Tripoli.

    Adal Debretsion, an Eritrean teenager had reportedly been detained for more than a year in Sabaa detention center, Tripoli.

Published 21 January 2020
Opinion

The young boy died on Jan. 12 after he has been sleeping constantly for two weeks without any medical care.

A 16-year-old is the latest person to die in one of Libya’s detention centers where refugees and migrants are jailed indefinitely after they are sent back to the war-ravaged country by the European Union-funded coastguard, The Guardian reported.

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Adal Debretsion, an Eritrean teenager had reportedly been locked up for more than a year, according to other detainees in Sabaa detention center, Tripoli. They said the young boy died on 12 January after he has been sleeping constantly for two weeks without any medical care.

“We really feel sad and we are scared,” said another Eritrean, one of some 400 people detained in the center. Friends said Adal left home three years ago at age 13 out of fear of mandatory, indefinite national service ​​​, which usually begins for all Eritreans when they finish school.

“These tragic incidents are a consequence of the increasingly dangerous conditions on the ground for all civilians trapped in areas of conflict, as well as aid workers who are sometimes unable to access certain areas due to security concerns,” said Safa Msehli, spokesperson for the International Organization for Migration, which has worked in the center.

UNHCR special envoy for the central Mediterranean Vincent Cochetel highlighted last week at a summit on Lybia in Berlin, Germany, ​​​​​​ the problems the agency has to access detention centers in the war-ravaged North African country. 

“The militiaman may decide to let you in or not let you in. Even if you have the right papers you may not be able to go there,” he said. “We [don’t] have access to everywhere in the detention center. Sometimes we plan to stay five or six hours and after 45 minutes we are told to leave … Once you go to a detention center you are not sure you will be able to go back the day after or the week after or the month after.”

Cochetel said there are “awful conditions, disgusting, unacceptable … There are considerable risks. Lots of ethical dilemmas.”


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