Council of Europe Calls on Italy to Suspend Cooperation With GNA’s Libyan Coast Guard  – Al Marsad

“Italy must urgently suspend cooperation activities with the Libyan Coast Guard at least until the latter can ensure respect for human rights,” said Dunja Mijatovic, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights. Mijatovic also pushes for all states to facilitate the creation of humanitarian corridors.

[Libya, 31 January 2020] – Mijatovic said that the MOU on development cooperation, illegal immigration, human trafficking, fuel smuggling and reinforcement of border security between Italy and the Government of National Accord (GNA), which will be renewed automatically on 2 February 2, must be abolished.

“I regret that the Italian authorities have not scrapped that agreement or, as a minimum, changed its terms,” Mijatovic said.

“As I have already stressed on several occasions, and in particular in my recommendations of June 2019 and in my observations in the case before the European Court of Human Rights in November 2019, certain types of assistance provided to the Libyan Coast Guard have resulted in increased returns of migrants, including asylum seekers, to Libya, where they have suffered from serious human rights violations,” the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights stated.

“I therefore call on the Italian government to urgently suspend the cooperation activities in place with the Libyan Coast Guard that impact, directly or indirectly, on the return of persons intercepted at sea to Libya until clear guarantees of human rights compliance are in place,” Dunja Mijatovic added.

“They should also postpone any additional support to the Libyan Coast Guard until the latter can ensure respect for human rights. In the meantime, Italy, as well as other member states, should support the efforts of international organisations to secure the release of refugees, asylum seekers and migrants from places of detention in Libya, and facilitate the creation of safe humanitarian corridors,” Mijatovic continued.

The UN Security Council Panel of Experts has issued individual sanctions against notorious human traffickers who are leading the Libyan Coast Guard affiliated with the Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli such as the head of the Libyan Coast Guard in the Western Libyan coastal hub of human trafficking, al-Zawiya, Abdul Rahman Milad, known by the nom de guerre of al-Bija, and the Commander of the Martyrs Al Nasser Brigade, Mohamed Kachlaf, and the human trafficker Musaab Abu Qarin, from Sabrata, better known as Doctor Musaab, all are affiliated with the Tripoli  Government of National Accord (GNA).

© Al Marsad English (2020)