“European Governments Complicit” in Refugee Torture in Libya: Amnesty

Amnesty International has alleged that the European governments are complicit in the abuse and cruelty over the migrants and refugees in Libya.

“European governments are actively supporting a sophisticated system of abuse and exploitation of refugees and migrants by the Libyan Coast Guard, detention authorities and smugglers in order to prevent people from crossing the Mediterranean,” Amnesty International said in a report.

The AI report alleged the EU funds are going to authorities who are accused of working with militias and smugglers.

Amnesty International reported, “European governments have not just been fully aware of these abuses; by actively supporting the Libyan authorities in stopping sea crossings and containing people in Libya, they are complicit in these abuses.”

Amnesty International accused the European governments of ‘a policy of containment’. Amnesty said, “Since late 2016, EU Member States – particularly Italy – have implemented a series of measures aimed at closing off the migratory route through Libya and across the central Mediterranean, with little care for the consequences for those trapped within Libya’s lawless borders.”

According to the report, the accused governments help Libyan Department for Combatting Illegal Migration (DCIM) to hang on to the migrants and refugees where the victims are “routinely exposed to serious human rights violations including torture.”

The human rights group said the EU member states have “enabled the Libyan Coast Guard to intercept people at sea, by providing them with training, equipment, including boats, and technical and other assistance.”

The Libyan Coast Guard is accused of endangering lives and intimidating NGOs. “Libyan Coast Guard officials are known to operate in collusion with smuggling networks and have used threats and violence against refugees and migrants on board boats in distress.”

Ras Jadir

Amnesty said Italy donated the Libyan Coast Guard the boat ‘Ras Jadir’ that was used during a horrific incident on 6 November 2017 “where their reckless actions contributed to the drowning of up to 50 people.”

John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s Director for Europe and Central Asia said, “By supporting Libyan authorities in trapping people in Libya, without requiring the Libyan authorities to tackle the endemic abuse of refugees and migrants or to even recognize that refugees exist, European governments have shown where their true priorities lie: namely the closure of the central Mediterranean route, with scant regard to the suffering caused.”

“European governments must rethink their cooperation with Libya on migration and enable people to get to Europe through legal pathways, including by resettling tens of thousands of refugees. They must insist that the Libyan authorities end the policy and practice of arbitrary arrests and detention of refugees and migrants, immediately release all foreign nationals held in the detention centers, and allow the UNHCR to operate unhindered.”


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