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Tortured in Libya, Thanks to the EU

D 13 juillet 2023     H 06:00     A Human Rights Watch     C 0 messages

The AFP news agency’s headline reads : “EU money facilitated migrant torture, sex slavery in Libya : UN.”

They’re not exaggerating.

The substance of a new report by the UN Independent Fact-Finding Mission on Libya is brutal and damning.

It describes “a wide array of war crimes and crimes against humanity” committed by state security forces and armed militia groups. The report documents numerous cases of unlawful detention, murder, rape, enslavement, extrajudicial killing, and enforced disappearance.

The UN report highlights how “migrants, in particular, have been targeted,” saying there is “overwhelming evidence that they have been systematically tortured.” It also draws attention to sexual slavery committed against migrants.

All this is happening in Libya… so what’s the EU got to do with it ?

This is the smoking-gun passage from the new report :

“…the Mission found that crimes against humanity were committed against migrants in places of detention under the actual or nominal control of Libya’s Directorate for Combating Illegal Migration, the Libyan Coast Guard and the Stability Support Apparatus. These entities received technical, logistical and monetary support from the European Union and its member States for, inter alia, the interception and return of migrants.”

Regular readers of this newsletter are familiar with this issue. By providing the Libyan coastguard with ships and air surveillance, the EU helps them intercept boats – boats full of desperate people, many of whom are trying to escape those abuses in Libya I just described.

When people are stopped at sea, they are returned to Libya. And to horrific abuse.

The new UN report calls on all outside parties like the EU and member states to, “cease all direct and indirect support to Libyan actors involved in crimes against humanity and gross human rights violations against migrants.”

Immediately ending their complicity in systematic torture would seem the very least the EU should do.