• Tuesday, June 18, 2024
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BusinessDay

EU’s plan endangers Nigerians, others in Libya

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Human Rights Watch has said that European Union efforts to stem migration from Libya further expose migrants and asylum seekers to violent abuse in the hands of government officials, militias and criminal groups in Libya.

The body listed the newly documented abuses to include torture, rape and killings in squalid detention centres where migrants, including people intercepted at sea by the Libyan Coast Guards, are detained.

Speaking on the issue, Judith Sunderland, Associate Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said: “The EU isn’t sending people back to Libya, knowing that’s unlawful, so it wants to outsource the dirty work to Libyan forces. The EU soon perhaps with NATO’s help is basically deputising Libyan forces to help seal Europe’s border.”

HRW noted that at present, EU and NATO vessels are not allowed to operate in Libyan territorial waters, but that the EU had acknowledged that, under international law, it might not send people rescued in international waters back to Libya due to extreme dangers in that country.

In June, the HRW interviewed 47 people in Sicily, 23 women and 24 men, who had recently travelled from Libya to Italy on smugglers’ boats.

Those interviewed, according to HRW, are from Cameroon, Eritrea, Gambia, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Senegal and Sudan, adding that they said they had left their homes to flee persecution, including abusive military service, to escape forced marriage, or to seek education and work.