Libya-Italy migrant deal criticized
The head of Libya's human rights commission has rejected the idea of renewing a migration deal between the country and Italy signed in 2017.
Ahmed Hamza, Chairman of the Libyan National Commission for Human Rights says that his organization has repeatedly called for authorities to "reconsider" the agreement.
"It's important to reconsider this agreement due to the violations and abuses that it entailed in terms of guarantees of protecting the rights of migrants and asylum seekers," he said.
Hamza said that his organisation has repeatedly called for authorities to "reconsider" the agreement.
"It's important to reconsider this agreement due to the violations and abuses that it entailed in terms of guarantees of protecting the rights of migrants and asylum seekers," he said. Hamza said he felt the agreement "fails to take into account the exceptional and security conditions" that migrants were going through in Libya.
He also criticized European Union countries which he said were "evading their legal, moral and humanitarian responsibilities" in dealing with migrants destined for Europe.
On the five-year anniversary of a series of accords signed between Libya and the EU, human rights organizations have come out denouncing the agreements. Amnesty International says that over 82,000 migrants have been returned to Libya to "hellish" conditions because of the deals. They call for the EU to rethink its approach.
Five years ago on February 02, 2017, the EU and Libya signed a series of cooperation agreements. The accords were designed to fund and train the Libyan coast guard as well as other authorities to stop migrants from crossing the Mediterranean Sea.
Since those deals were struck, Amnesty says over 82,000 migrants have been returned to Libya to face "hellish" conditions. "EU leaders' cooperation with Libyan authorities is keeping desperate people trapped in unimaginable horrors in Libya," says Matteo de Bellis, a researcher on Migration and Asylum at Amnesty International.
De Bellis put out a series of tweets in Italian on his Twitter account, highlighting his experiences talking to migrants in Agadez, Niger on the day the accord was signed five years ago. In the thread, he shares accounts he heard about abuses that many thousands have suffered on the journey towards and within Libya.
De Bellis says that "over the past five years, Italy, Malta and the EU have helped capture tens of thousands of women, men and children at sea, many of whom ended up in horrific detention centers rife with torture, while countless others were forcibly disappeared."
The humanitarian medical organization MSF Italia (Doctors without Borders Italy) has also denounced the agreements, pleading the current Italian government and the country's President Sergio Mattarella to "call on the parliament to cancel them."
According to a press statement released by MSF's President Claudia Lodesani, the accords have "created a system of abuse, kidnapping and extortion applied to migrants and refugees in Libya."