How Europe’s Anti-Migrant Policies Gave Rise to “Absolutely Horrific” Refugee Prisons in Libya

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Western countries have opened their doors to millions of Ukrainians fleeing the war in their homeland, presenting a model of how refugees should be welcomed. But their experience stands in stark contrast to how African refugees are treated when attempting to reach Europe to escape war, hunger and despair. In her new book, “My Fourth Time, We Drowned: Seeking Refuge on the World’s Deadliest Migration Route,” author Sally Hayden details how a single message from an Eritrean refugee held in a Libyan detention center led her on a years-long journey to document the human rights disaster on Europe’s doorstep. She says that since a 2017 European Union agreement with Libya to stop migrants before they cross the Mediterranean, many refugees have been imprisoned in hellish detention centers run by armed groups with little care for the safety or well-being of the people inside. “Tens of thousands of people have been locked up in detention centers that Pope Francis, among many others, have compared to concentration camps,” says Hayden. “The situation is absolutely horrific.”

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