Ask the UK Government to end its harmful policies on refugees and migrants

MSF is currently working to provide medical help to people trapped in appalling conditions in Libyan detention centres.

People are detained simply because of their migration status in overcrowded conditions with a lack of access to sufficient food, water or medical treatment. 

A recent assessment of just one of these centres found alarming levels of malnutrition, with some people held in a room so small there was no space to lie down. 

Worse still, one third of the people detained indefinitely in this centre were children.

Men and boys wait to be fed in a detention centre in Khoms, Libya. September 2018 © Sara Creta/MSF

But in recent days, things have got even worse. Fighting in and around Libya’s capital Tripoli led directly to the deaths of 40 vulnerable migrants and refugees after a detention centre in Triopoli was hit by an airstrike on 2 July.

Trapped in these centres and at severe risk of being caught in the crossfire, migrants and refugees are unable to flee the fighting and are suffering from increased disruption to food and other supplies – some report not having eaten for days. 

Men and boys wait to be fed in a detention centre in Khoms, Libya. September 2018 © Sara Creta/MSF

Men and boys wait to be fed in a detention centre in Khoms, Libya. September 2018 © Sara Creta/MSF

Men and boys wait to be fed in a detention centre in Khoms, Libya. September 2018 © Sara Creta/MSF

Our teams are doing what they can to help, but in the long term, things are unlikely to improve for refugees and migrants as long as the UK and other European Governments continue to support policies with trap them in Libya.

The UK has long been a supporter of this policy: it has used public money to fund and train the Libyan Coastguard, who forcibly return people trying to escape these appalling conditions, and in some cases have threatened vessels trying to rescue people from drowning. 

"What is needed now is not empty condemnation but the urgent and immediate evacuation of all refugees and migrants held in detentions centres out of Libya. Today, inaction and complacency has needlessly cost the lives of more vulnerable refugees and migrants."
Prince Alfani, MSF Medical Coordinator - Libya

Meanwhile, criminalisation of and attacks on independent search and rescue by European governments mean people who are not intercepted by the coastguard are more likely to die at sea. Currently, there are virtually no NGO rescue ships left at sea.

Britain needs to take a public stand against these harmful policies, and back dedicated search and rescue in the Mediterranean for those trying to flee. 

WE NEED YOUR HELP

We have raised our concerns repeatedly with ministers, but now we need your help. 

Please join us in asking the British Government to support the urgent humanitarian evacuation out of Libya of refugees and migrants held in detention centres, before the conflict further deteriorates. 

The best way to do this is to sign this petition. Ten thousand signatures will require the government to respond. With 100,000 signatures, the petition will be considered for debate in Parliament.

We need to see the UK commit to resettling vulnerable refugees and migrants from Libya; and taking a share of those rescued at sea who make it to Europe.

You can also add your voice by emailing your MP. Click the link below to open a pre-worded email. Please add your MP's name to the text, as well as your own - and feel free to include your own views on this issue. Visit this website to find your MP's email address.

Or download the email as a Word document

To be kept updated on the progress of this campaign, about the government’s response, any changes to its policy, and any other ways you can help, enter your email address below.

Women and child survivors of a shipwreck are kept in a detention centre in Khoms, Libya. September 2018.

Women and child survivors of a shipwreck are kept in a detention centre in Khoms. September 2018. © Sara Creta/MSF

Women and child survivors of a shipwreck are kept in a detention centre in Khoms. September 2018. © Sara Creta/MSF

An MSF nurse dresses the wounds of a shipwreck survivor in a temporary consultation room set up in a detention centre in Khoms. September 2018 © Sara Creta/MSF

An MSF nurse dresses the wounds of a shipwreck survivor in a temporary consultation room set up in a detention centre in Khoms. September 2018 © Sara Creta/MSF

An MSF nurse dresses the wounds of a shipwreck survivor in a temporary consultation room set up in a detention centre in Khoms. September 2018 © Sara Creta/MSF

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