Libyan migrant centers are like concentration camps, pope says

The pope recalled how an interpreter translating his conversation with a migrant seven years ago, gave him only a “distilled” version of what the migrant was actually saying. (File/AFP)
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Updated 08 July 2020

Libyan migrant centers are like concentration camps, pope says

  • The pope has in the past called for the camps to be closed
  • Thousands of refugees and migrants are held in about 20 official detention facilities in Libya

VATICAN CITY: Pope Francis on Wednesday compared migrant detention centers in Libya to concentration camps, saying the world was being given only a diluted version of how hellish life really was for the people living there.
The pope, who has in the past called for the camps to be closed, made his comments in his homily during a Mass to mark the seventh anniversary of his trip to the Italian island of Lampedusa, landing place for many migrants making the perilous crossing from north Africa.
Departing from his prepared address, he recalled how an interpreter translating his conversation with a migrant seven years ago, gave him only a “distilled” version of what the migrant was actually saying.
“This is what is happening today in Libya. They give us the distilled version,” said Francis, who has made defense of migrants a major part of his seven-year-old papacy.
“Yes, there is a war (in Libya) and we know that is ugly but you cannot imagine the hell that people live there in those lagers of detention,” he said.
Lager is an abbreviation of the German word ‘Konzentrationslager’, or concentration camp.
“All these people had was hope as they were crossing the sea,” Francis said.
Thousands of refugees and migrants are held in about 20 official detention facilities in Libya, some controlled by armed groups, as well as an unknown number in squalid centers run by traffickers, according to the United Nations.
Human rights groups say abuses, including beating and forced labor, are rife in the detention centers.
Detainees in the Libyan camps include those who left on boats for Europe and were brought back by the European Union- backed Libyan Coast Guard, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, UNHCR, says.


Daesh claims deadly and rare twin blasts in Baghdad

Updated 22 January 2021

Daesh claims deadly and rare twin blasts in Baghdad

  • Militant group said the bombing ‘targeted apostate Shiites’

BAGHDAD: The Daesh has claimed responsibility for a rare and deadly twin suicide bombing that rocked central Baghdad killing over 30 and wounding dozens.
The group said the bombing “targeted apostate Shiites,” on a statement circulating in an Daesh-affiliated website late Thursday. The statement said the first bombing was carried out by Abu Youssef Al-Ansari and the second by Mohammed Arif Al-MuHajjir.

Iraqi Prime Minister said Yesterday's bombing is a security breach, and the country will not allow it to be repeated. He added that Baghdad is working on a comprehensive security plan to confront the challenges of extremism.
At least 32 people were killed and over 100 people wounded in the blasts on Thursday. Some were in severe condition. According to officials, the first suicide bomber cried out loudly that he was ill in the middle of the bustling market, prompting a crowd to gather around him — and that’s when he detonated his explosive belt. The second detonated shortly after.
The US-led coalition recently ceased combat activities and is gradually drawing down its troop presence in Iraq, sparking fears of an Daesh resurgence. The group has rarely been able to penetrate the capital since being dislodged by Iraqi forces and the US-led coalition in 2017.
The attack was the first in nearly three years to hit the capital. Elsewhere, in northern Iraq and the western desert, attacks continue and almost exclusively target Iraqi security forces.
An increase in attacks was seen last summer as militants took advantage of the government’s focus on tackling the coronavirus pandemic and exploited security gaps across disputed territory in northern Iraq.