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Euro-Med Monitor To HRC: EU Technical Support To Libyan Coast Guard Must Not Be Used To Violate Migrants’ Rights

Geneva – Libyan Coastguard should use the technical support and capacity building provided by European countries to support human rights, rather than to violate the rights of at-risk groups, Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor said in a joint statement with the Youth Parliament for SDG at the United Nations' Human Rights Council's 49th session.

The EU has allocated millions of euros in technical assistance to the Libyan Coast Guard to help control the country’s borders, intercept migrants and asylum seekers at sea, and block their arrival to Europe, said the statement delivered by Maha Hussaini, Euro-Med Monitor’s Strategy Director.

Euro-Med Monitor has documented many cases of vulnerable migrants and asylum seekers from war-torn areas across the MENA region being intercepted, kept in arbitrary detention, and systematically subjected to torture, sexual violence, and overall exploitation until they paid guards to release them and could attempt to cross the sea again, Hussaini said.

She added that the EU continues to provide technical support to Libyan authorities with the aim of limiting the arrival of migrants in Europe, despite the EU’s awareness of the serious abuses faced by migrants in Libya and the fact that the country is unsafe for them.

Euro-Med Monitor and the Youth Parliament for SDG called on the EU to establish monitoring mechanisms to ensure that technical and financial support provided to the Libya Coast Guard will no longer be used to violate the human rights of migrants and asylum seekers.

The statement also called on the EU to establish a European-Libyan cooperation mechanism in order to deploy enough maritime search and rescue missions across the Med, ensure the humane treatment of those rescued, and accommodate them properly.

The statement:

Mr. President,
Technical support and capacity building are offered to enhance the situation of human rights, and should not, under any circumstances, be used to violate the fragile groups’ rights.

For years, the EU has poured millions of euros into providing technical assistance to the Libyan Coast Guard to enhance their capacity to control the country’s borders, and intercept migrants and asylum seekers at sea to prevent their arrival in Europe.

Throughout the past year, Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor documented several cases in which vulnerable migrants and asylum seekers from war-torn areas across the MENA region were intercepted, kept in arbitrary detention, and systematically subjected to torture, sexual violence, and overall exploitation until they paid guards to release them and could attempt the sea crossing again.

Despite an awareness of the serious abuses faced by migrants in Libya and the fact that the country is unsafe for them, the EU continues to provide technical support to authorities in Libya to limit the arrival of migrants in Europe.

Euro-Med Monitor and the Youth Parliament for SDG call on the EU to establish monitoring mechanisms to ensure that the technical and financial support provided to the Libya Coast Guard is not used to violate the human rights of migrants and asylum seekers.

The EU should establish a European-Libyan cooperation mechanism to deploy enough maritime search and rescue missions along sea routes, ensure humanitarian treatment of those rescued, and accommodate these people in appropriate places.

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