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.


Israeli jets strike Hamas targets in Gaza: military

Updated 03 August 2020

Israeli jets strike Hamas targets in Gaza: military

  • Israeli fighter jets carried out strikes on Hamas facilities in Gaza

JERUSALEM: Israeli fighter jets carried out strikes on Hamas facilities in the Gaza Strip after a “rocket” was fired from the Hamas-controlled enclave toward the Jewish state, its military said Monday.
Israel said Sunday night a “projectile” fired from Gaza had been intercepted by its Iron Dome anti-rocket system.
It was the first to be fired from the Palestinian coastal enclave since the first week of July, and set off sirens, the Israeli army said.
In response, “our fighter jets and & aircraft just struck subterranean Hamas terror facilities in Gaza,” the Israel Defense Forces said in a statement.
A spokesperson for the regional council of Shaar Hanegev, the area where the sirens sounded, said the projectile launched from Gaza had not caused any damage or casualties.
Israel and Islamist movement Hamas have fought three wars since 2008.
Despite a truce in recent months, they have periodically exchanged fire, with militants in the strip lobbing rockets into Israel and the Jewish state responding with strikes against targets inside Gaza.