The Danish Refugee Council (DRC) has launched an appeal to request an urgent change in the European Union's external cooperation policies on migration in the central Mediterranean, stressing that the cooperation between the EU and Libya has led to a ''shipwreck of human values''.
According to the NGO, Europe needs to look beyond policies focusing on border security to prioritize rescue operations, providing effective protection and safe pathways for migrants.
Appeal for change at future summits
''At both the upcoming EU-Africa summit in December as well as the EU-Arab League summit in February next year, deepening cooperation with third countries on migration will feature prominently on the agenda, and possibilities for agreements on migration management with North African countries further explored'', the organization said in a statement.
The EU approach is predominantly based on ''strengthening external borders with the view to stemming arrivals to the EU's shores'', the statement continued. ''While the strategy is delivering in terms of reducing migratory flows to Europe, it is a path that is subordinating protection responsibilities and that compromises the EU's ability to advocate with States to uphold rights and standards''.
DRC Secretary General Christian Friis Bach said that the EU needs to ''look beyond the perceived successes of stemming arrivals to the EU's external borders and be accountable for the devastating protection implications that they are causing, and the responsibility that they bear''.
EU-Libya cooperation has 'devastating consequences' on migrants
The DRC noted that the cooperation on migration between the EU and Libya is a fitting example of the ''devastating consequences'' of policies prioritizing border control. ''The EU's targeted support and outsourcing of migration management to the Libyan coast guard and a continued criminalization of NGOs and private individuals engaging in search-and-rescue'' operations (SAR) have led to a ''rise in the rate of deaths and disappearances of refugees and migrants, increased human rights violations in Libya, and a risky, short-term approach to the conflict, development, and migration nexus in North Africa'', the organization stressed.
''While rights violations and abuse of refugees and migrants in Libya are increasingly evidenced it has not led to a change of course in the EU-Libya migration cooperation'', the DRC said. ''On the contrary, in the absence of agreement on the reform of the Common European Asylum system, what unifies EU member States is a continued focus on reducing arrivals to the EU's shores - seemingly regardless of the costs."
The organization thus urged the EU to ''stop the outsourcing of Search And Rescue in the Mediterranean," calling for a re-assessment of the ''current strategy of consolidating and expanding collaboration with North African countries on migration."