Libya is being targeted by the US and the UN for migrant abuse.
The US and the UN have placed penalties on a Libyan suspected of migrant abuses, amid mounting concern about human trafficking and horrific conditions in the country’s main entry point to Europe.
The US announced on Tuesday that it was freezing Osama Al Kuni Ibrahim’s assets and criminalizing any transactions with him. Al Kuni Ibrahim is the manager of the Al-Nasr detention center in Zawiyah, which is about 50 kilometers (30 miles) from Tripoli’s capital.
Al Kuni, 45, allegedly committed “horrific atrocities” against predominantly African migrants, including deaths and sexual violence, according to Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
“Today’s action promotes accountability and exposes the maltreatment, exploitation, and brutality perpetrated against vulnerable migrants transiting Libya in search of a better life,” Blinken said, urging Libya’s weak unity government to act against Al Kuni as well.
The move comes after a similar designation by the UN Security Council’s sanctions committee on Monday, which called on all governments to prohibit Al Kuni from passing through their country and to freeze any funds in his possession.
Since the ouster of dictator Moamer Kadhafi in 2011, human traffickers have profited from Libya’s disarray, transporting people into the Mediterranean in the hopes of reaching Europe.
Human rights groups claim that those sent back to Libyan jails are often sent to jails with corrupt management and deplorable conditions. European nations, led by Italy, have funded the Libyan coastguard as it seizes migrants, but human rights groups claim that those sent back are often sent to jails with corrupt management and deplorable conditions.
Pope Francis called on states to avoid sending people back to Libya on Sunday, lamenting the “inhumane brutality” that has been inflicted against migrants, particularly children.