Amnesty International on Tuesday accused European governments of abetting grave human rights violations in Libya through their support for authorities there that often work with people smugglers and torture refugees and migrants.
Determined to cut African immigration across the Mediterranean, the governments, via the EU, have provided support to Libya, trained its coastguard and spent millions of euros through UN agencies to improve conditions in detention camps where Libya puts the migrants.
The advocacy group said up to 20,000 people were now held in these centres and subject to “torture, forced labour, extortion, and unlawful killings.”
“European governments have not just been fully aware of these abuses; by actively supporting the Libyan authorities in stopping sea crossings and containing people in Libya, they are complicit in these crimes,” John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s head for Europe, said.
The European Union’s executive arm, the European Commission, was not immediately available for comment.
Libya is the main gateway for migrants trying to cross to Europe by sea, though numbers have dropped sharply since July as Libyan factions and authorities have begun to block departures under pressure from Italy, the main landing point.
No fewer than 600,000 have made the journey over the past four years.
Amnesty said the Libyan coastguards – which the EU backs to intercept people heading for Europe, work hand-in-hand with people smugglers, including in torturing people to extort money.
“By supporting Libyan authorities in trapping people in Libya … European governments have shown where their true priorities lie: namely the closure of the central Mediterranean route, with scant regard to the suffering caused,” said Dalhuisen.
With Libya being largely a lawless states since the fall of veteran ruler Muammar Gaddafi, some EU officials and diplomats chafe at what they see as being forced to rely on sometimes shady characters in the matrix of alliances between militias.
However, EU leaders meeting for their final gathering this year in Brussels on December 14 to 15 will recommit themselves to this strategy, which they see as bearing fruit in the form of fewer sea crossings.
The presidency of Libya’s UN-backed government said in November it was a victim of illegal migration, not a source of it, and appealed to foreign powers to help stop flows from migrants’ countries of origin.
Tunisian President Beji Essebsi hospitalised.
Nigeria: Residents Cry For Help After Ilorin Flood
Residents of Olunlade Area in Ilorin, Kwara state, complained bitterly about the havoc wrecked by flood on their property as buildings, cars and shops were troubled by heavy downpour.
According to reports, the area experienced a heavy downpour around 4pm on Wednesday which lasted for about three hours.
One of the victims, Mr Femi Olaoye, whose house was taken over by flood, said he was helpless as the water entered his siting room and kitchen.
“I was bitter and sad as there is nothing I could do to stop the flood from entering my house. It was only me and my two children at home. I wept bitterly to witness such terrible occurrence.
“All my electronics were damaged beyond repair. Even the bedroom has turned to swimming pool. I am confused,”
Another resident, Mr Yusuf Taiwo said the flood came as a nightmare to him as his furniture, bookshelf and electronics were destroyed by the flood.
“Even some vital documents that I placed on the floor in my room have been destroyed by the flood.
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