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UN rights chief: EU backing of Libyan coastguard is 'inhuman'

Europe
14.11.2017
By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Geneva (dpa) - The European Union is complicit in the inhumane treatment of migrants as it assists Libya‘s efforts to stop them at sea and to detain them ashore, UN human rights chief Zeid Ra‘ad Al Hussein charged on Tuesday.

In early November, UN rights observers visited four Libyan migrant detention centres in Tripoli and witnessed thousands of emaciated and traumatized adults and children piled on top of each other.

"The suffering of migrants detained in Libya is an outrage to the conscience of humanity," the high commissioner for human rights said in Geneva.

On their journeys through Libya, many of these people had suffered human trafficking, kidnapping, torture, rape or forced labour at the hands of people smugglers.

Migration from Libya to Italy - the main route from Africa to Europe - has dropped sharply since July, after Rome struck EU-backed deals with Libya‘s coastguard and, allegedly, with local militias.

"The increasing interventions of the EU and its member states have done nothing so far to reduce the level of abuses suffered by migrants," Zeid said.

He also criticized the outcome of Monday‘s meeting of African and European interior ministers in Bern, who agreed on the need to protect migrants and to improve their detention conditions in Libya.

"The international community cannot continue to turn a blind eye to the unimaginable horrors endured by migrants in Libya, and pretend that the situation can be remedied only by improving conditions in detention," Zeid said.

Europe should stop treating irregular immigrants as criminals, he said.

 

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