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East Libya has expelled 1,400 refugees and migrants this year: U.N.

GENEVA (Reuters) - Authorities in rebel-held eastern Libya have expelled 1,400 migrants and refugees so far this year, in violation of international law, the U.N. rights office said on Tuesday.

“The numbers that I have are from the start of the year so 1,400 migrants and refugees and just this month there was the episode of 160 Sudanese migrants,” Jeremy Laurence, spokesman for the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, told a virtual briefing in Geneva.

“Such practices violate Libya’s international human rights obligations, prohibiting refoulement and collective expulsion,” he added, using a French legal term for returning refugees and asylum seekers to a country where they may face persecution.

He said that they had been sent to Sudan, Niger, Chad and Somalia and were deported without access to legal assistance or other services required to ensure their protection.

Reporting by Emma Farge and Stephanie Nebehay