ICRC Libya: visits to 6,000 detainees in and around Tripoli

In recent weeks, the ICRC has visited thousands of newly arrested people. It has evacuated almost 50 wounded patients from Sirte and delivered medical supplies to Bani Walid. ICRC experts are now providing the transitional authorities with advice on managing mass graves and human remains.

“Since late August, we have visited around 6,000 detainees in or near Tripoli, including some 2,500 in Misrata,” said Hanan Salah, an ICRC delegate. “They are held in more than 30 different places, some of which are more suitable for detaining people than others. Where necessary, we have called upon the authorities to place detainees in proper detention facilities instead of makeshift structures such as schools.”

In recent weeks, the ICRC has obtained access to new detention facilities under the authority of military councils in Tripoli, in nearby towns such as Zawiya, Sabratha, Zuara and Khoms, and in Misrata. It has also visited new places of detention in Benghazi. Obtaining access to all newly arrested people is an ICRC priority, especially in and around places where clashes have occurred recently.

So far the ICRC has visited around 50 places of detention all over the country holding a total of more than 7,000 people. Some 1,500 of the detainees in the places visited were foreign nationals, mostly from sub-Saharan Africa.

The aim of the visits is to monitor the treatment of detainees and the conditions in which they are held. ICRC delegates visit all of the premises, talk in private to the detainees of their choice, repeat their visits and share their findings exclusively with the competent authorities.

In addition, the delegates give detainees the opportunity to phone their families to let them know they are safe. In a large number of detention places, ICRC delegates have also distributed such items as clothing, sheets, mattresses, buckets and hygiene articles.
Inside Bani Walid

On 17 October, ICRC staff entered the embattled city of Bani Walid and visited its central hospital.

“We found a ghost-like city with clear traces of fighting,” said Dejan Ivkov, the ICRC delegate in charge of the operation. “When we reached the hospital, we found only a few health-care staff and no patients, but a medical team sent by the authorities arrived shortly afterwards and a few patients were brought in for treatment.” The ICRC staff delivered enough surgical supplies to treat up to 100 war-wounded patients, external fixators to stabilize broken limbs, 40 body bags and hygiene items to the hospital.

“On the road, we saw around 25 ambulances taking wounded people to Mizdah hospital and Shmeikh clinic,” added Mr Ivkov. The ICRC had delivered medical supplies for the treatment of 50 patients and external fixators a few days before to Mizdah hospital, the medical facility closest to Bani Walid where war casualties were being transferred.
Situation slowly improving in Sirte hospital

Water is still not running properly in Ibn Sina Hospital in Sirte. For the past few days, a tanker has been supplying the facility with enough water to meet its minimum requirement, but the hospital’s demand for water is very high and a long-term solution is needed. An ICRC engineer went to Sirte today to perform urgently needed repairs.

ICRC staff evacuated 21 wounded patients from Ibn Sina Hospital for further treatment on 17 October. Despite the recent arrival of medical staff and volunteers in the hospital, the patients could not be treated there. They were flown to Tripoli for specialized care.

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Categories: Africa, Libya, Switzerland

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