UN refugee chief 'shocked' at conditions in Libyan refugee centre

Filippo Grandi says his agency is looking to step up its response in the country

UN refugee chief 'shocked' at conditions in Libyan refugee centre

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi. Picture by: Britta Pedersen/DPA/PA Images

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees has expressed his 'shock' at the conditions in a 'detention facility' for refugees and migrants in Libya.

Filippo Grandi visited the camp in Tripoli yesterday, and the UN's refugee agency (UNHCR) is now pledging to step up assistance in the country.

The country has faced more than a half decade of violence following the ousting and death of its leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

According to the UN, the conflict has left 300,000 Libyan people displaced, as well as more than 1.3 million people in urgent need of humanitarian assitance.

Other Libyan refugees have joined the tens of thousands attempting to make the perilous crossing to Europe across the Mediterranean - a journey that has left more than 1,300 people dead or missing in 2017 alone.

Speaking during his visit to Libya, Mr Grandi said: “I was shocked at the harsh conditions in which refugees and migrants are held, generally due to lack of resources. Children, women and men who have suffered so much already should not have to endure such hardship.

"We are already providing help on the ground and we will be doing much more. But these patterns of migration we are seeing are very complex – and tackling the root causes, like poverty, is key."

He added: "We also need to strengthen ways in which transit countries manage flows. People are ending up here because of a variety of problems elsewhere."

Mr Grandi also met with Libyan officials during his one-day visit to discuss "practical steps" that can be taken to alleviate the refugee crisis in the country.