UN rights body urges Libya regulate detainee situation
AFP, Friday 14 Oct 2011
UN official urges the Libyan government to look into the situation of 7,000 people who are in detention, including migrant workers, to ensure they are 'treated correctly'

A UN official on Friday urged Libyan authorities to find a way to "regulate" the situation of about 7,000 people, including migrant workers, who have been detained in the country due to the conflict.

"There are thousands of people" under detention, said Mona Rishmawi, who heads the UN human rights office's Asia, Pacific, Middle East and North Africa branch.

"We are talking about large numbers... It could be up to 7,000," she added.

Some of them are "migrant workers, some are combatants and some of them are maybe mercenaries", she said, giving an update of the situation in the country which she visited between 4 and 10 October.

The authorities must "find a process of regulating" the situation, she added.

Rishmawi and her team travelled to Tripoli, Benghazi and Misrata, where they met members of the authorities as well as representatives of non-governmental groups and civil society.

She also raised concerns about the conditions of the prisoners' detention, and urged the authorities to guarantee that the detainees are "treated correctly."

Asked if there had been instances of torture, she said that her team did not have direct contact with the detainees but have received information about allegations of cases of torture.