21, Jan 2019
According to a new Human Rights Watch (HRW) report, the European Union’s policies are contributing to “extreme abuse” of migrants in Libya, including extortion, forced labour, arbitrary detention, torture and sexual violence, the Guardian reported. HRW said that it has spoken to more than 100 detained asylum seekers and migrants, including eight children, as well as the staff at multiple detention centres in Libya. “Since 2016, the EU has intensified efforts to prevent boat departures from Libya. EU policymakers and leaders justify this focus as a political and practical necessity to assert control over Europe’s external borders and ‘break the business model of smugglers’, as well as a humanitarian imperative to prevent dangerous boat migration,” the report states. In its announcement of the report, HRW noted, “Enabling the Libyan Coast Guard to intercept people in international waters and return them to cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment in Libya can constitute aiding or assisting in the commission of serious human rights violations”. This report was released days after the International Organization for Migration (IOM) revealed data indicating that the number of migrants entering Europe in the first 16 days of 2019 has been nearly double the total number of arrivals in the same period in 2018. The HRW report, titled ‘No Escape From Hell: EU Policies Contribute to Abuse of Migrants in Libya’ may be read here.