By Alessandra Bocchi.
Tunis, 10 February 2017:
Twelve Libyan non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have issued a joint statement criticising the EU’s latest migrant policy as set out at the Malta summit a week ago as well as the Italy-Libya deal signed earlier which agreed that migrants should be sent back to Libya and repartiated voluntarily from there. Both represented a fundamental “immoral and inhumane attitude” towards migrants, they said. International human rights and calls had to be respected.
The NGOs include the Libyan Organisation for Development in Benghazi, the Independent Organization for Human Rights in Misrata and the Human Rights Solidarity Organisation in Tripoli,
The NGOs expressed concern over the “inhumane conditions” faced by migrants in detention centres and stressed that Libya was “a transit country, rather than a country of destination”, and therefore suffered from migration as much as EU countries. They added that, to resolve the migrant crisis, the EU needed to address the reasons migrants decide to leave their countries of origin.
Because Libya was being used as a route where criminal networks were exploiting the lack of safety and the divisions in the country, Libyan municipalities needed even more assistance to combat the gangs who were making millions from the migrants, the statement added.
Xenophobia towards migrants, who are mere victims of criminal networks, also had to be addressed, the statement added.
The statement is the latest from a growing angry chorus of opposition from Libyan bodies and individuals to the EU’s new migration ideas. The policy has also attracted strong criticism from international human rights organisations as well as from outgoing UN special envoy to Libya Martin Kobler. He told the UN Security Council earlier this week that repatriation via Libya could not work because of the humanitarian conditions in the country. He too also said that economic conditions in the migrants’ countries of origin needed to be addressed to stop migrants heading to Europe.