EU must ensure protection for refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants in Libya
(Brussels, 20 June 2013) On World Refugee Day, Amnesty International has urged the European Union to ensure its funding and technical assistance to Libya do not perpetuate human rights violations against refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants.
Amnesty International’s latest briefing, Scapegoats of Fear, Rights of Refugees, Asylum-Seekers and Migrants Abused in Libya, illustrates how that country continues to detain thousands of foreign nationals, including children, in unacceptable conditions.
“In Libya thousands of people are still being detained indefinitely in appalling conditions,” said Nicolas Beger, Director of Amnesty International’s European Institutions Office. “The EU must ensure that the standards it sets itself also apply to its cooperation with non-EU countries.”
In April and May, Amnesty International visited seven ‘holding centres’ in Libya where migrants, many from Sub-Saharan Africa, are held, often for months, before being deported. The team found evidence of ill-treatment, even torture. Detainees, including women, reported being brutally beaten with pipes and cables.
The EU recently set up a civilian technical mission in Libya to enhance the security of the country’s borders. As part of its European Neighbourhood Policy package for Libya, the EU is spending €10m there to enhance ‘migration management’. Amnesty International’s research suggests that some of these funds have been used to support detention centres where thousands of foreign nationals are being held unlawfully.
Amnesty International has urged the EU and European countries not to sign any further agreements until Libya has demonstrated its respect for the human rights of migrants, refugees and asylum-seekers, which includes setting up an adequate system for assessing asylum claims.
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