By Libya Herald reporters.
Tunis, 30 September 2015:
EU proposals to stem the flow of transMediterranean migrants by supporting detention centres in Libya . . .[restrict]would violate its human rights responsibilities because of clear evidence of the use of torture and abuse in these places, said Lawyers for Justice in Libya.
“In recent years,” explained LFJL’s Hannah Offermann today, “ such centres have regularly been accused of severe human rights violations, due to their poor conditions, lack of trained staff and the absence of appropriate legal processing of those detained”.
Offerman, who heads LFJL’s anti-torture programme added, “ In addition, several reports have evidenced that guards in such centres have tortured and abused detainees, including by severe whipping, beatings and electric shocks”.
LFJL maintained that the EU had failed to tackle the migrant crisis appropriately. It was particularly critical of any militarised response empowering border control forces to intervene against the people smugglers. It believed it would have a limited effect in curbing the smugglers’ activities, while causing severe consequences to migrants.
“Smugglers have so far responded to attempts to disrupt their activities” said Offermann, “by placing those seeking their services in precarious situations, for example by abandoning boats adrift in the Mediterranean.
“In addition, there have been recent allegation of foreign agents carrying out armed attacks against smugglers within Libya’s territory. If true, this behaviour would not only be unlawful but extremely reckless, as it may cause further instability in an already volatile political environment”.
As it was, said LFJL, the people smugglers often put migrants to sea in overcrowded and unsafe boats. In April 400 lives had been lost in a single vessel. It pointed out that the Organisation for Migration said that so far this year, 2,892 people had died or gone missing and as many as 20,000 had perished in the last two decades. [/restrict]