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US, UN Sanction Libyan over Abuse of Migrants

US, UN Sanction Libyan over Abuse of Migrants

Wednesday, 27 October, 2021 - 03:45
Migrants gather at a detention center at Ain Zara, in Tripoli, Libya October 12, 2021. REUTERS/Hazem Ahmed

The United States and the United Nations imposed sanctions on a Libyan accused of abuses of migrants.

The United States said Tuesday it was freezing any assets and criminalizing any transactions with Osama Al Kuni Ibrahim, described as the manager of the Al-Nasr detention center in Zawiyah, some 50 kilometers from the capital Tripoli.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that Al Kuni, 45, carried out "horrific abuses" against mostly African migrants including killings and sexual violence.

"Today's action promotes accountability and exposes the mistreatment, exploitation and violence being perpetrated against vulnerable migrants transiting Libya in pursuit of a better life," Blinken said, calling on Libya's fragile unity government also to take action against Al Kuni.

The action follows a similar designation Monday by the sanctions committee of the UN Security Council which called on all nations to ban Al Kuni from transiting through them and freeze any funds in their territory, AFP reported.

Human traffickers have profited from Libya's chaos since 2011, smuggling migrants into the Mediterranean in hopes of reaching Europe.

European nations led by Italy have financed the Libyan coastguard as it seizes migrants but human rights groups say that those sent back are often sent to jails mired in corrupt management and deplorable conditions.

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