Al Khoms Detention Centre
This child is being held in the Al Khoms detention centre in Libya together with a group of men who are being used for forced labour, are being tortured and abused. This boy is just five years old and he has been separated from his mother for many months as the women and girls are held in a separate part of the centre and no contact is allowed.
They are not in detention because they have done anything wrong. They simply ran away from a highly oppressive regime in Eritrea that forces conscription on young people which is effectively an involuntary life sentence.
Five boys (three of them under 18) were taken away from the centre a few days ago and never returned. The detainees are terrified as they believe these boys were sold to slave masters and traffickers and they might be next. They have started an hunger strike to demand that the five boys be brought back.
They have circulated videos and are begging UNHCR to attend the centre and register them in the hope this might stop them being sold and disappeared for life.
The UK government provides funds to these detention centres and also to the so called ‘Libyan Coastguard’ that captures and brings back anyone who tries to escape.
In the centre right now are 90 refugees, including 10 women and 44 minors, the youngest of them being this five year old boy. 83 are Eritreans and 7 are Somalis.
Please message UNHCR now and demand that they attend the centre and register these refugees as a matter of extreme urgency. UNHCR’s first duty should be to register all vulnerable refugees at serious risk of torture, slavery and other crimes against humanity.