French government challenged over unlawful boat donation to Libyan Coast Guard

• Amnesty International spokespeople available for interview
• Press conference opposite administrative court of Paris at 11.00 25 April

Amnesty International will today (Thursday April 25) legally challenge the French government’s decision to donate six boats to the Libyan Navy, which includes the Libyan Coast Guard.

Amnesty International is one of eight NGOs demanding that delivery of the boats is suspended, believing they would be used to intercept refugees and migrants and force them back to Libya, where they suffer serious human rights violations.

“Delivering boats to the Libyan Coast Guard was an unlawful and reckless decision – but doing it now, as the armed conflict in Libya escalates, is even more callous and irresponsible,”

 Massimo Moratti, Regional Director for Research at Amnesty International

“The donation would make French authorities complicit in trapping thousands of women, men and children in a country where they suffer extortion and are arbitrarily detained and tortured.

“Instead of supporting Libyan authorities in stopping sea crossings and containing people in Libya, France and other European governments must ensure safe routes for those fleeing violence and abuse in Libya and call for the Libyan authorities to immediate release all migrants and refugees from horrific detention centres.”

The donation would violate the European embargo on Libya, related to the supply of military equipment, as well as the Arms Trade Treaty prohibition of arms transfers to countries where they could be used to commit or facilitate atrocities.

For more information or to arrange an interview, contact Amnesty International press office on [email protected] +32 2 548 27 73 or +32 483 680 812
Véronique Tardivel, Amnesty International France, +33 (0)1 53 38 65 41 / +33 (0) 6 76 94 37 05, [email protected]


The organisations participating in the legal action are Amnesty International, Medecins Sans Frontieres France, GISTI – Groupe d’information et de soutien des immigrés, Ligue des droits de l’Homme, La Cimade, Avocats sans Frontieres, Associazione Studi Giuridici Immigrazione (ASGI) and Migreurop

A press point will take place on 25 avril 2019 à 11h00 at Café Le Métropolitain (8 rue de Jouy – 75004 Paris), opposite the Tribunal administratif de Paris.

The donation of six boats was announced by the French Defence Minister in February. [Name of NGOs] are demanding the suspension of the decision as a precautionary measure, until the administrative court rules whether the donation is lawful. The administrative court has 48 hours to decide on the suspension.

This is the second case that Amnesty International is bringing to courts concerning Europe’s cooperation to outsource border control to Libyan authorities. In a different case, the organization is challenging Italy’s decision to use Euro 2.500.000 of its cooperation funds to support Libyan authorities’ border and migration control functions, including to repair and insure four Libyan General Administration for Coastal Security (GACS) motorboats (previously donated by Italy) and to train the GACS. The legal suit in Italy is brought together with Italian NGO Associazione Studi Giuridici Immigrazione (ASGI), the International Commission of Jurists and European Council for Refugees and Exiles (ECRE). The case will be heard on appeal before the Council of State in 2019.

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