On arrival to Libya, I quickly gained insight into the mental health team’s daily work by joining them on visits to five detention centres and three private health clinics in and around the capital, Tripoli.
In each of the detention centres, I saw vulnerable people kept in overcrowded and unhygienic caged facilities. They were separated from their families and loved ones, and told us stories of unspeakable abuse and trauma.
I was quickly struck by the similarities between what I observed in these centres and what I had witnessed while working with another organisation from 2015 to 2016 in Australia’s offshore processing centres, in Nauru and on Manus Island. In Libya, like in the Pacific, I saw vulnerable people contained indefinitely and deprived of the basic means to live a safe, healthy and meaningful life.