European countries 'complicit' in horrific abuse of refugees and migrants

European countries 'complicit' in horrific abuse of refugees and migrants

European governments are "complicit" in grave human rights violations in Libya through their support for authorities there that often work with people smugglers and torture refugees and migrants, Amnesty International said on Tuesday.

The charity accused the EU of being unconcerned with the fate of thousands of vulnerable people while prioritising the blocking of those risking their lives to reach European countries.

Led by Italy, the European Union has been providing technical and financial support to the Libyan coastguard and immigration authorities in a bid to stop migrants, mostly from West Africa, from using Libya as a launch pad to reach Europe with the help of human smugglers.

"Following the provision of ships, training and funding from the European Union and Italy to the Libyan coastguard, the number of arrivals to Italy fell by 67% between July and November [2017] compared with the same period in 2016".

"Why are we still giving money to a coast guard with such a glaring record of abuses?" The report asserts that the financial support has resulted in "mass arbitrary and detention" of refugees and migrants, some 20,000 of whom are now forcibly being held in centers where they are subject to "torture, forced labor, extortion and unlawful killings". He noted that some European nations were seeking to shut out migrants at the same time they criticise Libya for failing to care for those who make their way across its porous borders.

Migrants whose boats have been intercepted are sent to detention centres "where they endure horrific treatment".

European countries 'complicit' in horrific abuse of refugees and migrants
European countries 'complicit' in horrific abuse of refugees and migrants

He charged that "by supporting Libyan authorities in trapping people in Libya".

In August, MEE revealed that armed groups are receiving payoffs to stop the boats leaving Libya.

The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) identified 432,574 migrants in Libya, with estimates of the number being much higher. This approach received the complete backing of other European governments.

But the moves have trapped an estimated 20,000 migrants in Libya, where detention facilities are overcrowded and unsanitary, Amnesty International said, noting that the report was based on interviews with dozens of migrants and officials.

Moreover, earlier this year, Deusche Welle reported that the Italian navy would begin joint patrols with Libya to curb the exodus by sea.

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