Libya’s dark web of collusion: Abuses against Europe-bound refugees and migrants

Author (Corporate)
Publication Date December 2017
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The European Commission set out on 4 July 2017 a series of measures to be taken by the EU institutions and agencies, Italy and the other Member States, in response to increasing pressure from migrants along the Central Mediterranean Route.

The European Commission welcomed the approval of the action plan by EU Member States at an Informal meeting of justice and home affairs ministers (JHA) in Tallinn on the 6 July 2017.

On the 17 August 2017 two United Nations human rights experts expressed serious concern over the new European Commission policy on Mediterranean Sea rescues, warning that more people would drown.

'The EU’s proposed new action plan, including a code of conduct for organisations operating rescue boats, threatens life and breaches international standards by condemning people to face further human rights violations in Libya', said the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, Felipe González Morales, and the Special Rapporteur on torture, Nils Melzer.

The Special Rapporteurs expressed concern that the European Commission was trying to move Europe’s borders to Libya. 'Libya simply cannot be regarded as a safe place to disembark and the EU policy is in denial of this fact', they said.

UN human rights experts reported in November 2017 of the widespread sale of migrants in Libya. They said that the Government of Libya must take urgent action to end the country’s trade in enslaved people.

An estimated 700,000 migrants were in Libya, a major transit country for those trying to reach Europe.In this report published in December 2017 Amnesty International said that in recent years, hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants have braved the journey across Africa to Libya and often on to Europe. In response, the Libyan authorities have used mass indefinite detention as their primary migration management tool.

Regrettably, the European Union and Italy in particular, have decided to reinforce the capacity of Libyan authorities to intercept refugees and migrants at sea and transfer them to detention centres.

It was essential that the aims and nature of this co-operation be rethought; that the focus shift from preventing arrivals in Europe to protecting the rights of refugees and migrants.

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Related Link(s)
ESO: Information Guide: European Migration Challenges
Amnesty International: News, 12.12.17: Libya: European governments complicit in horrific abuse of refugees and migrants
OHCHR: News, 30.11.17: Libya must end 'outrageous' auctions of enslaved people, UN experts insist
Al Jazeera, 12.12.17: [Opinion]: The EU's complicity in refugee abuse in Libya
BBC News, 12.12.17: EU governments complicit in migrant torture in Libya, says Amnesty
EurActiv, 29.11.17: UN wants Libya to agree to shut down migrant camps
German Foreign, 23.07.18: Europe's Deputy Sheriffs (II)
The Guardian, 23.07.18: Deaths at sea expose flaws of Italy-Libya migration pact
Amnesty International: News, 19.07.18: Amnesty issues warning to European Union to not repeat cruel human rights failures of Australian refugee policy

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