A recent analytical report has accused the European Union of indifference towards its migration control agreements in Libya. The report, published by the British news site State Watch, sheds light on the EU Commission’s collaboration with the Libyan Coast Guard, and migrant detention center authorities.
The report highlights the European Commission’s plan to replicate these agreements with Tunisia and Egypt, by the end of 2023. Meanwhile, logistical and financial support to Libya is being ramped up. This year, Libya received five search and rescue ships, to bolster the capabilities of its coast guard.
By 21 September, the Libyan Coast Guard had intercepted around 10,900 illegal migrants in 100 operations. The majority, from Bangladesh, Egypt, and Syria, were repatriated.
The EU’s involvement in Libya’s migration management has been controversial. Critics argue that the EU’s policies contribute to human rights abuses in detention centers. The EU’s support to the Libyan Coast Guard, intended to curb illegal migration, often results in migrants being returned to harsh conditions in Libya.
International organizations have repeatedly criticized the conditions in Libyan detention centers. Reports of abuse, lack of basic amenities, and indefinite detention are common. Human rights groups argue that the EU’s support indirectly contributes to these violations.
The EU maintains that its support to Libya is part of broader efforts to manage migration, and combat human trafficking. However, the lack of oversight and transparency in Libyan detention practices raises ethical and humanitarian concerns.
The State Watch report calls for a more humane and balanced approach to migration management. It emphasizes the need for the EU to consider the human rights implications of its policies, especially in countries with questionable human rights records like Libya.