ABUSES, TORTURES AND ILLEGAL IMPRISONMENTS IN THE LIBYAN HELL

Categories: Press release


OXFAM, MEDU e BORDELINE SICILIA :
“ABUSES, TORTURES AND ILLEGAL IMPRISONMENTS IN THE LIBYAN HELL”

A new report reveals the brutalities inflicted daily to migrants by local militia, traffickers and criminal gangs
Urgent call for the revocation of the Italy- Libya agreement and for a change of direction in the European policies regarding the control of migratory flows

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Rome, 6/7/2017- Violence of all types , illegal imprisonments, sexual abuses and tortures. This is what migrants and refugees report to suffer in Libya according to the new report “The Hell overseas published by Oxfam, Borderline Sicilia, MEDU (Medici per i Diritti Umani) on the occasion of the European Interior Ministries’ meeting in Tallinn and the Solidarity and Safetyconference called for today in Rome by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, together with the High Commissioner for the EU’s Foreign Policy, Federica Mogherini, and the Foreign Ministries of the African countries where migrants transit. The closure of the southern Libyan border and the reinforcement of the European collaboration with the Nord-African country are among the main objectives of the two meetings.

At the meantime, hundreds of people who -arrived in Sicily within the last 12 months – reported having been beaten, abused, sold and illegally imprisoned by local militia, human traffickers and armed gangs that “control ” most of the Libyan territory.

Men, women and children who fled war, persecutions and poverty in their home country, with expectations for better life conditions in Libya – the supposed “Door to Europe” – found out they have landed in a living hell.


“YOU DON’T FEEL ANYMORE LIKE A HUMAN BEING”:
THE TESTIMONIES OF THE ABUSES SUFFERED IN LIBYA

This sentence could summarize most of the testimonies collected. 84% of the interviewed people declared having been victim of inhuman treatments as brutal violence and torture, 74% reported to have witnessed the homicide or the torture of other migrants , 80 % to have suffered water and food deprivation and 70% having been imprisoned in official or unofficial detention facilities.

I have been arrested by an armed gang as I was walking in Tripoli – Says H.R, 30 years old, from Morocco – they brought me to a dungeon and told me to ask for ransom to my family (…) they beat me and injured me with a knife several times.(…) A muscle of my left harm has been completely cut (…) I was almost dying from the beating (…) Men were regularly raped. the screams of the beaten prisoners were amplified in order to scare us. ”.

“(…) There were almost 300 people in the prison (…). I had to do any kind of job (…). They gave us food very rarely. They beat me, sometimes they even tortured me (…)” – adds C.B., 28 years old, arrived in Libya from Gambia.

“(…) I left my country and reached my brother in Libya – remembers K.M., a 27 years old man from the Ivory Coast, interviewed at the CARA of Mineo.– One day a group of soldiers entered our home. (…) They beat me and raped me in front of my brother and my daughter. My brother tried to defend me and was beaten savagely (…).”


THE EFFECTS OF THE MEDITERRANEAN CENTRAL ROUTE’S CLOSURE

In front of the serious violations of the migrants’ human rights in Libya, the Italian and European goal of enforcing the control of migratory flows is of particular concern. Especially, the control of the Libyan border and the funding to countries like Niger, Mali, Ethiopia, Sudan e Ciad, where migrants are transiting.
The funding given in exchange of a stronger cooperation in the control of the borders and in the procedures of repatriation and expulsion, do not require the respect of any standard in the protection of migrants’ rights. Those measures seem to predict the closure of the Mediterranean central route, although no regular and safe mechanisms of access to Italy and Europe have been settled. Therefore, the risk is the creation of “new hells” for people escaping conflicts, abuses, violence, hunger and poverty.

Moreover, such agreements, are not only alarming from the human rights’ perspective, but also ineffective: despite the training of the Libyan coastguard by the Eunavformed mission and the delivery of patrol boats by Italy, up to date, the landings in Italy have increased by 13% compared with last year,

THE CALL TO ITALY AND EUROPE FOR A RADICAL CHANGE OF DIRECTION



To deal with the situation of such a fragile country where – according the UN estimation – 1,3 million of people are in need of humanitarian assistance, Oxfam, Borderline Sicilia and MEDU make an urgent call for a radical change of direction of the European and Italian migration flow policy , primarily headed to:

  • an immediate revocation of the Italy-Libya agreement;
  • a revision of the agreements signed with the countries of transit (called compacts) in order to favor sustainable development of poor countries and safeguard the respect of migrants’ human rights, without requiring the control of their boarders;
  • the prohibition for Member States to sign agreements with Countries of origin or transit whose Governments do not ensure a total respect of Human Rights;
  • the activation of the Italian Authorities for the early identification, assistance and rehabilitation of asylum-seekers victims of tortures, as required by the European law;
  • an enforcement of regular and safe and legal entry channels to Europe for migrants, supporting family reunifications’ processes and guaranteeing the possibility of seeking asylum in the European countries of arrival;
  • To allow repatriation of migrants from European countries to their home countries only through procedures based on the respect of human rights and never in dangerous conditions.