European governments share responsibility in the exploitation and torture of thousands of African migrants trapped in Libya, driven by “a policy of containment” that leaves them at the mercy of Libyan authorities and human traffickers they actively support, Amnesty International said Tuesday.
The human rights organization released a new report, “Libya’s dark web of collusion,” which details how Italy and other European countries are “actively supporting a sophisticated system of abuse and exploitation” of which they are clearly aware, said John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s Europe Director.
“By supporting Libyan authorities in trapping people in Libya, without requiring the Libyan authorities to tackle the endemic abuse of refugees and migrants or to even recognize that refugees exist, European governments have shown where their true priorities lie: namely the closure of the central Mediterranean route, with scant regard to the suffering caused,” Dalhuisen said.
Europeans provide technical support and assistance to the Libyan Department for Combatting Illegal Migration (DCIM), which runs detention centers in which up to 20,000 migrants and refugees remain exposed to serious human rights abuses.
Equipping the Libyan National Guard with boats and other equipment, in order to intercept migrants on the Mediterranean Sea and return them to Libya, results not only in fatalities at sea but in the collusion with smugglers and guards that keeps migrants in bondage, Amnesty said.
Dalhuisen called on Libyan authorities to sign the international Refugee Convention and adopt an asylum law, while ending the automatic detention of migrants.
To view the entire Amnesty International report, see this link.