The conditions at Libyan detention centres and the procedures used by the country’s coastguard in sea rescues will be the focus of a committee debate on November 21 in Brussels.
MEPs of the Civil Liberties Committee, the Subcommittee on Human Rights and the Delegation for relations with Maghreb countries will assess the conditions facing migrants in Libya against the backdrop of the general situation in the country, with representatives of the European External Action Service and the European Commission.
In a second session, they will delve into what is happening in detention centres and analyse the procedures used by the Libyan coastguard when returning migrants rescued at sea, based on testimonies from representatives of UNHCR, IOM, Médecins sans Frontières and the International Rescue Committee.
Libyan Coast Guard informed on September 19 that it had intercepted 493 migrants on six inflatable boats in six operations in a week in areas northeast and northwest of Tripoli. (Image: illustration)
The migrants, including 28 women and five children, are from sub-Saharan, Arab and Asian countries. They were all moved to detention centers run by the U.N.-backed Government of National Accord, Coast Guard spokesman Ayoub Qassem said.
A Sudanese man was shot and killed as he and other migrants returned to shore by the Libyan Coast Guard tried to resist being sent back to detention, the UN said.
The International Organization for Migration strongly condemned the incident and demanded that Libyan authorities investigate and bring those responsible to justice.
“We are deeply saddened by the tragic news of a shipwreck off the coast of Al Khoms where over 100 persons may have lost their lives. This is a terrible reminder of the risks still faced by those making this dangerous journey to Europe. Every life lost is one too many. Our aim has always been to prevent lives being lost at sea and we will continue our work to prevent these perilous journeys taking place in the first place” , wrote in a joint statement EU top diplomat Federica Mogerini, and Commissioners Johannes Hahn and Dimitris Avramopoulos on the shipwreck off the coast of Libya. (Image above: illustration).
“Our EU Delegation is in contact with the Libyan authorities, UN agencies and the NGOs to make sure that those rescued and disembarked receive protection and direct emergency assistance” the statement continues.
“Ensuring adequate search and rescue capacity, providing safe and dignified alternatives to dangerous sea-crossings to EU in the form of resettlements and voluntary returns out of Libya are essential to prevent further losses of lives and must be accelerated. At the same time, predictable and sustainable solutions for search and rescue are urgently needed in the Mediterranean”, the EU top executives said.
However the current situation in Libya is the direct result of the “Operation Freedom Falcon” led by NATO armed forces, conducting in March 2011 the overthrowing of the four decades ruler Colonel Gaddafi. The assassination of Gaddafi degenerated the statehood, fueled the protracted conflict, and threw nation into chaos.
“A big round of applause for Obama, Hillary, McCain, Cameron and Sarkozy for plunging Libya into chaos and turning a once prosperous and stable country into a human trafficking hub and war-torn failed state where roving terrorists operate open air slave markets” wrote in her Twitter micro blog Sarah Abdallah, an ndependent Lebanese geopolitical commentator.
Militants killed two police officers in the Central African Republic town of Bambari ahead of a scheduled visit by the country’s President, the government said. The attack came a day after President Faustin-Archange Touadera announced a date for African Union-brokered peace talks with armed groups who control most of the CAR.
Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said it had treated 30 people for bullet wounds, while local media reported 10 people killed, however this information was impossible to verify.
United Nationas MINUSCA sent peacekeepers to the site of the clashes, spokesman Vladimir Monteiro said. Its troops there had come under fire a day earlier, he added.
According to an internal UN report a militant called “General Bello,” in charge of UPC fighters in Bambari, had been wounded. Union for Peace in the Central African Republic (UPC), has been dominant around Bambari.
Portuguese peacekeepers battled for five hours to protect civilians and restore order after militants killed two police officers in Bambari ahead of a scheduled visit by the country’s president on Thursday, January 10.
The medical aid group Doctors Without Borders, or MSF, on accused the European Union and national governments of funding the criminal abuse of migrants in detention centers in Libya.
Libya’s EU-sponsored coast guard is picking up migrants trying to flee to Europe across the Mediterranean Sea and sending them back to Libya’s detention system, which is “a thriving enterprise of kidnapping, torture and extortion,” MSF International President Joanne said in an open letter to EU governments:
“European governments have chosen to contain people in this situation. People cannot be sent back to Libya, nor should they be contained there,” she wrote.
The EU’s executive Commission denied the allegations on cruel treatment of migrants in Libya and said that its priority is in fact to end the “vicious cycle” that sees people brought to the conflict-torn country by smugglers and then trapped in camps or detention centers.