August 5, 2021

Amnesty International denounces the “atrocious” treatment suffered by migrants in Libya

Amnesty international denounced the treatment “Excruciating” suffered by migrants intercepted in the Mediterranean and forcibly sent to detention centers in Libya, with the help of “Shameful” Europeans, in a report published Thursday, July 15.

Plunged into chaos since the fall of Muammar Gaddafi’s regime in 2011, Libya has become a privileged route for tens of thousands of migrants, who are trying to reach Europe by sea at the risk of their lives.

Read also The number of migrants who died at sea trying to reach Europe has doubled in one year

United Nations agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) operating in the Mediterranean regularly denounce European policies for the forced return of migrants to Libya, where they are held in detention centers, under very harsh conditions.

In its report, Amnesty International states that at the end of 2020 the Libyan leadership against illegal migration (DCIM, under the Ministry of the Interior) “Legitimized” these human rights violations by taking control of two detention centers run by militias, where hundreds of refugees and migrants have been forcibly disappeared in recent years.

Read also UN calls on EU and Libya to reform their practices vis-à-vis migrants in the Mediterranean

Torture, sexual violence, forced labor

In one of these centers, witnesses reported rapes of women by guards. They forced them to have sex “In exchange for food or their freedom”, according to the NGO.

“This appalling report sheds new light on the suffering of those intercepted at sea and returned to Libya, where they are immediately arbitrarily and systematically detained and subjected to torture, sexual violence, forced labor and other forms of violence. ‘exploitation, with impunity’, said Diana Eltahawy, Amnesty’s deputy regional director for the Middle East and North Africa. “At the same time, the Libyan authorities rewarded those who were (…) suspected of having committed such violations with (…) promotions “, she added.

Read also Libya, “hell” for women on their way to Europe

The NGO called on the Libyan authorities to close ” at once “ these detention centers. She also denounced “The complicity of European states, which shamefully continue to help the Libyan coast guard to capture people at sea and forcibly return them to the hell of detention in Libya”.

European states “Must suspend their cooperation on migration and border controls with Libya”, and help “Urgently thousands of people stuck there and in need of protection”, Amnesty said.

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The World with AFP