EU urged to cease support for Libyan coast guard


Doctors without Borders (MSF) has called the EU to immediately suspend its financial and logistical backing of the Libyan coast guard due to actions endangering the lives of migrants, as reported by Asharq Al-awsat and agencies on March 21st.

The organization stated that it witnessed firsthand, a forced pushback by the Libyan coast guard which put the lives of 146 migrants in great danger. According to a statement released on March 20th, MSF offered to provide assistance to the migrants, who were at the time in international waters, despite this, Maltese authorities and Frontex, along with the Libyan coast guard, intercepted and forcibly pushed back the dingy to Libya.

READ: 60 migrants feared drowned off Libyan coast

The statement comes amidst a deterioration of migrant treatment in the North African country. Last year, the UN announced that it was “alarmed” by the conditions faced by migrants in Libya, and last week, 65 migrant remains were found in the southwest of the country. The EU has continued to funnel money into Libya in an effort to curb migration flows into Europe. The results of this policy of border externalization, are aggressive coast guard interventions and inhumane treatment of migrants within Libya as well as other countries like Tunisia and Morocco, with Human Rights Watch underlining the inappropriateness of entrusting the notoriously corrupt Libyan coast guard with migrant rescue operations.

Along with the cessation of EU funding to the Libyan coast guard, MSF has also called for an investigation into the role of Frontex and Malta in unlawful push backs, deeming them complicit in human rights violations.

READ: Libya: only a third of migrants survive deflated dinghy

Despite continuous pleas by NGOs, the EU does not seem to be changing its course on the issue, as it continues to double down on migration deals with its southern neighbors. Recently, on the 17th of March, a €7.4 billion deal between Egypt and the EU was announced, highlighting the union’s insistence on border externalization despite well-known and publicized human rights concerns and repeated violations.

Asharq Al-awsat/ Agencies


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