[JURIST] Refugees and migrants crossing through Libya face human rights abuses [press release] including torture and rape, Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] reported [materials] Sunday. The report asserts that foreign nationals in Libya are subject to alarming rates of rape, torture and abduction, causing many to risk their lives crossing the Mediterranean Sea trying to escape. AI also noted that a recent upsurge in xenophobia has caused some of the abuses against religious minorities, namely Christians, who are subject to exploitation, torture and unlawful killings by armed groups enforcing a blighted version of Islamic law. In order to ameliorate the situation, AI called for the re-opening of neighboring borders and challenged the EU to investigate the human rights abuses, in addition to the search and rescue operations to which they have already committed themselves.
The Libyan conflict [JURIST backgrounder] has seen the country besieged by violence and destruction. In April the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) [official website] strongly condemned [JURIST report] the continuous airstrikes on the town of Zintan, noting a high danger to civilians. One moth earlier UNSMIL had warned the UN Security Council [official website] that the situation in Libya was deteriorating [JURIST report] and the country would likely become unstable without international intervention. Also in March the UN reported that armed groups in Libya deliberately attacked [JURIST report] human rights defenders, killing, torturing and abducting the advocates.