Don’t shirk your responsibilities: EU urged to help people fleeing Libya



‘Don’t shirk your responsibilities’: EU urged to help people fleeing Libya

(Brussels, 8 April 2011) Ahead of next week’s Justice & Home Affairs Council, where European Union ministers will discuss their response to Europe’s latest ‘migration challenge’, Amnesty International has urged the EU to take tangible action to support international efforts to help people affected by the unrest in North Africa and continuing armed conflict in Libya.

As ministers ponder the issue, people are still boarding boats bound for Europe”, said Nicolas Beger, Director of Amnesty International’s European Institutions Office. “We’ve met people who have only been able to escape the violence in Libya by risking their lives at sea. Some 22,000 people have come to Europe from North Africa, but the vast majority, some 400,000, of those fleeing Libya have found sanctuary in Tunisia and Egypt.”

Faced with the current crisis, Amnesty International has appealed to the EU and its member states to do more to help displaced people. “The EU must give practical support to countries like Tunisia and Egypt, but it must also share responsibility among its own member states”, said Beger. “So far, they’ve only provided border management resources. EU countries are shirking their responsibilities.”

Amnesty International has asked the EU to:

• Continue and strengthen its assistance to Libya’s neighbours
• Set up humanitarian corridors and secure safe passage for people trapped in Libya
• Increase sea patrols to allow effective search and rescue for travellers in distress
• Make the humanitarian needs of anyone who attempts to reach EU territory a priority
• Ensure everyone receives adequate reception conditions, access to fair and effective asylum procedures and guarantee that they are not returned to places where their safety is at risk
• Share out responsibility for helping and receiving migrants and asylum-seekers more fairly

For interviews or further comment, please contact:-

Peter Clarke
Media & Communications Officer
European Institutions Office
Amnesty International
Tel: +32 (0)2 548 2773
[email protected]

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