31 August 2017
International Organisation for Migration to help Libyan authorties take migrants back to "hell"
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The announcement comes at the same time as the UN reportedly called for the immediate release of the most vulnerable migrants being detained in Libya, who have been subjected to abuses including "extreme violence".
A recent report by Oxfam, Borderline Sicilia and Doctors for Human Rights said that "rape, torture and slave labor are among the horrendous daily realities for people stuck in Libya". Oxfam's executive director for Italy, Roberto Barbieri, referred to the situation in Libya as "hell" and reiterated the longstanding call from civil society organisations, parliamentarians and many others for the EU to "provide safe routes for people to come to Europe and have access to a fair and transparent processes for claiming asylum."
Meanwhile, the ANSA press agency reported that "Italy has offered to train this year 1,000 members of the Libyan coast guard, 'anti illegal emigration service' and 'criminal investigations' as well as 'theoretical and practical instruction' for motorboat crews, the Libyan government has said."
EU plans for limiting the number of people travelling along the Central Mediterranean Route are currently basd on an 'Implementation Plan' produced at the end of July.
"IOM, the UN Migration Agency this week (27-28/08) met with Libyan authorities in Tunis to discuss an initial workplan and the establishment of a coordination body to facilitate rescues at sea. Libyan agencies taking part included the Libyan Coast Guard, the Libyan Red Crescent, the Passport Investigation Department and the General Department for Coast Security and the Border Points.
IOM has provided computer literacy classes and lifesaving equipment to Libyan authorities as part of a wider intervention to strengthen the Governments humanitarian capacity. Participants have come from the Libyan Coast Guard (LCG), the Directorate for Combatting Illegal Migration (DCIM), as well as the General Department for Coast Security in Azzawya and Zuwara. The classes aim to improve documentation of sea rescue operations, including the registration of migrants at disembarkation points. Thirty participants took part, all involved in rescue operations.
By better documentation of migrants at the disembarkation points, IOM is hoping to put a registration system in place to help regulate the humanitarian services provided to rescued migrants, said Maysa Khalil, IOM Libyas Operations Officer.
IOM also provided information technology equipment, including computers, to the Libyan Coast Guard officers at disembarkation points.
In addition, on 21 August, lifesaving equipment including life buoys, life vests, emergency blankets, torches and protection supplies (gloves, masks, body bags, and disposable suits for retrieving dead bodies) were delivered to the disembarkation points of Abu Setta and Alhamidya. A day later, on 22 August, lifesaving and protection equipment was handed over to the Libyan Coast Guard at the Janzour disembarkation point and Mesfat point in Al-Zawaya and in Zuwara."
UN says migrants in Libya subjected to 'extreme violence' (The New Arab, link):
"The United Nations called for the immediate release of the most vulnerable migrants held in Libya on Monday, many of whom have been subjected to appalling human rights abuses including "extreme violence."
The UN mission in Libya said thousands of migrants have been held arbitrarily for prolonged periods of time with no possibility to challenge the legality of their detention.
"Migrants continued to be subjected by smugglers, traffickers, members of armed groups and security forces to extreme violence," UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said in a report, which also said migrants in Libya are subjected to torture, forced labour and rape. The report covered the period April to August."
"Rape, torture and slave labor are among the horrendous daily realities for people stuck in Libya who are desperately trying to escape war, persecution and poverty in African countries, according to a new report by Oxfam and Italian partners MEDU and Borderline Sicilia.
The report features harrowing testimonies, gathered by Oxfam and its partners, from women and men who arrived in Sicily having made the dangerous crossing from Libya. Some revealed how gangs imprisoned them in underground cells, before calling their families to demand a ransom for their release. A teenager from Senegal told how he was kept in a cell which was full of dead bodies, before managing to escape. Others spoke of being regularly beaten and starved for months on end.
Oxfam and its partners are calling on Italy and other European member states to stop pursuing migration policies that prevent people leaving Libya and the abuse they are suffering."
Italy offers to train 1,000 men, Libya says (ANSA, link):
"Cairo, August 31 - Italy has offered to train this year 1,000 members of the Libyan coast guard, "anti illegal emigration service" and "criminal investigations" as well as "theoretical and practical instruction" for motorboat crews, the Libyan government has said. The offer was made during the meeting of the joint Italy-Libya committee on the fight against human trafficking in Tripoli on Wednesday. In addition, "the Italian side says it will continue repairing motorboats in the Tunisian port of Biserta", a statement posted on Facebook read. During the meeting Libya said "illegal emigration" costs the country "more than 30 million dinars per year" (the equivalent of nearly 19 million euros) in reception costs.
Some 16,000 illegal migrants have been detained this year and "will be repatriated with help from the embassies of their countries", the statement continued."
See also: Trying to block migrants wont work. Europe needs a realistic plan(The Guardian, link) by Sophie in 't Veld:
"If we claim to be the most civilised continent in the world, how can we justify advocating a policy that will result in the mass detention of vulnerable people in inhumane conditions, for no reason? Even during the peak of the refugee crisis, the influx amounted to roughly 0.3% of the EU population. If Europe, the most prosperous and developed continent in the world, cannot handle that, then who can?"
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