Amnesty International in a new report said that thousands of Europe-bound migrants who were intercepted and returned to Libya were forcefully disappeared after being taken out of unofficial detention centers. Amnesty urged the EU to reconsider its cooperation with Libyan authorities.
A new report by Amnesty International titled "Between Life and Death" said refugees and migrants in Libya "are trapped in a cycle of serious human rights violations and abuses including prolonged arbitrary detention and other unlawful deprivation of liberty, torture and other ill treatment, unlawful killings, rape and other sexual violence, forced labour and exploitation at the hands of state and non-state actors in a climate of near-total impunity."
The report was released Thursday, September 24, following the announcement by the European Commission of the "New Pact on Migration and Asylum".
A wide range of abuse
"These are not all new revelations. For years, refugees and migrants, Libyan human rights defenders and activists, journalists, UN bodies, and humanitarian and human rights organizations have been sounding the alarm on the horrific conditions refugees and migrants are forced to endure in Libya," the report said.
Amnesty International said its previous research "consistently showed the shocking range of human rights violations and abuses committed against refugees and migrants in Libya over the past decade."
It said the report also details more recently emerged patterns of abuse, including the transfer of people disembarked in Libya to unofficial places of detention and their subsequent enforced disappearance, as well as the summary deportation of thousands of refugees and migrants from Libya's eastern region.
"A country torn to pieces by years of war has become an even more hostile environment for refugees and migrants in search of a better life," said Amnesty International Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa Diana Eltahawy.
"Instead of being protected, they are met with chilling violence and are now even unjustly accused, for deeply racist and xenophobic reasons, of having spread the Covid-19 pandemic," Eltahawy said.
"Despite all this, even this year the European Union and its member states are bringing forward policies that are stranding tens of thousands of men, women and children in a vicious circle of cruelty, showing a cynical disrespect for their lives and their dignity," she said.
Recommendations for the authorities
The 58-page report precisely analyses the entire Libyan question and concludes with a series of recommendations for Libyan authorities, the groups that de facto control the territory, for the Government of National Accord, and for the European Union and its member states.
"To break the cycle of abuse, the EU and its member states must reconsider their co-operation with Libya on migration, making any further support conditional on immediate action to stop horrific abuses against refugees and migrants," Amnesty said.