The International Organization for Migration (IOM) said Libya cannot yet be considered a safe port, saying it is present at the disembarkation points to deliver primary assistance to migrants that have been rescued at sea.
In a statement on Tuesday, IOM added that following the migrants' disembarkation, they are transferred to detention centres under the responsibility of the Libyan Directorate for Combatting Illegal Migration (DCIM) over which the Organization has no authority or oversight.
"The detention of men, women and children is arbitrary. The unacceptable and inhumane conditions in these detention centres are well documented, and IOM continues to call for alternative solutions to this systematic detention." The statement remarks.
It indicates that the number of migrants returned to Libyan shores has reached over 16,000 since January 2018, and concern remains for their safety and security in Libya, due to the conditions in the detention centres.
"IOM only has access to centres to provide direct humanitarian assistance in the form of non-food items, health and protection assistance, as well as Voluntary Humanitarian Return support for migrants wishing to return to their countries of origin." It explained.
The IOM also clarified that its access to detention centres in Libya is part of the efforts to alleviate the suffering of migrants but cannot guarantee their safety and protection from serious reported violations.
It said it advocates for alternatives to detention including open centres and safe spaces for women, children and other vulnerable migrants.
"A change of policy is needed urgently as migrants returned to Libya should not be facing arbitrary detention." The statement reads.
IOM further explained that security and humanitarian situations in Libya remain dangerous, and reiterated that Libya cannot be considered a safe port or haven for migrants.