A photo made available from a video provided by the NGO 'Sea-Watch 4' shows rescued migrants headed to Palermo, Italy, on September 1, 2020 | HANDOUT (ANSA)
A photo made available from a video provided by the NGO 'Sea-Watch 4' shows rescued migrants headed to Palermo, Italy, on September 1, 2020 | HANDOUT (ANSA)

The UN Human Rights Office OHCHR has called for urgent action to deal with the horrors faced by migrants trying to cross the central Mediterranean sea and the situations they confront in Libya as well as once they reach Europe.

The Human Rights Office of the United Nations (OHCHR) on October 2 called for urgent action to deal with the ''unimaginable horrors'' faced by migrants trying to cross the central Mediterranean and the terrible conditions they face in Libya, at sea and often upon arrival in Europe.

The appeal followed a week-long mission to Malta by a team of experts who interviewed 76 migrants. The migrants described repeated violence and insecurity they faced in Libya, according to a statement released in Geneva.

Migrants' reports

Many migrants said their boats were intercepted dangerously during the crossing by Libyan coast guards. According to witnesses, at least once the armed forces of Malta attempted to take a migrant boat back to Libya and another time to Lampedusa. Others said commercial vessels did not come to their rescue or took them back to Libya.

OHCHR pointed out in the statement that if true, ''these are serious allegations of failure to assist people in distress at sea and possible coordinated push-backs that should be duly investigated.

Migrants exposed to risk of arbitrary detention

Experts believe people rescued at sea and taken to Europe are too often exposed to the risk of arbitrary detention.

Michelle Bachelet, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said that what is happening to migrants in Malta and elsewhere in Europe ''is the result of a failed system of migration governance'' which does not give a central role to the human rights of migrants and refugees and that has been characterized for too long by a ''lack of solidarity forcing frontline Statesto bear the brunt of responsibility''.

Bachelet then urged the EU to guarantee that the Pact on migration and asylum confronts these challenges with a common approach and that ir is based on principles that guarantee the respect and protection of the human rights of migrants and refugees.

 

More articles