European leaders knowingly complicit in torture

European Union (EU) leaders are “knowingly complicit in the torture and exploitation” of thousands of migrants and refugees from Libya.

In a new report titled “Libya’s Dark Web of Collusion”, Amnesty International says the EU finances the Libyan coastguard and officials running the country’s detention camps to carry out torture and exploitation.

At present, the human rights group says about 20,000 people are detained in detention centers in Libya.

The aim is to stem the flow of people across the Mediterranean to Europe “… with little thought, or seeming care for the consequences for those trapped in Libya as a result.”

Irregular entry, stay and exit are criminal offences in Libya.

“The lack of any judicial oversight of the detention process and the near total impunity with which officials operate has facilitated the institutionalisation of torture and other ill-treatment in detention [centers],” the Amnesty report says.

The organisation further reports the EU “routinely acts in collusion with militia groups and people traffickers to ‘make money from human suffering’”.

After ships, training and funding from the EU and Italy were provided to the Libyan coastguard, Amnesty says the number of arrivals in Italy fell by 67% between July and November compared with the same period in 2016.

Deaths at sea have correspondingly reduced.

Furthermore, Amnesty says the coastguard and those to whom they hand over refugees, migrants and asylum seekers, are often acting with criminal gangs and militia.

Amnesty claims the coastguard and smugglers sometimes mark boats to allow vessels to pass through Libyan waters without interception.

At the same time, the coastguard sometimes escorts boats out to international waters.

Refugees and migrants intercepted on their way to Europe are sent to camps run by the Libyan general directorate for combating illegal migration.

They are then routinely tortured for money, Amnesty reports.


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