European Parliament Urges a to Stop All Funding to the Libyan Coastal Guard – Al Marsad

The majority of the members of the European Parliament urged stopping all financial aid to the Libyan Coast Guard, demanding that funds are allocated instead to managing migration issues in the wake of continuous violations of human rights of illegal migrants and asylum-seekers.

[Libya, 28 April 2020] – In a debate in the Civil Liberties Committee with representatives of the Commission, Frontex, UNHCR, the Council of Europe and NGOs, a majority of MEPs insisted that Libya is not a “safe country” for disembarkation of people rescued at sea and demanded that the cooperation with the Libyan coastguard stops.

The parliamentarians acknowledged the challenges faced by front line countries who receive most of the migrants and asylum-seekers fleeing Libya, namely Italy and Malta. They stressed that the unified asylum law in the European countries needed an overhaul, with a focus on solidarity among member states and respect of international legislation.

Members also stressed that member states are entitled to protect their borders, especially in the middle of a health crisis such as the current one. Some instead criticised the closure of ports due to the COVID-19 pandemic and stressed that letting people drown cannot be a solution.

Since 2017, Italy and the EU have been funding, training, and supporting the Libyan coast guard as part of an effort to crackdown on smuggling networks and curb irregular migration. The Libyan coast guard is a loose band of militias implicated in human rights abuses and accused of working in conjunction with people smugglers. Italy and the EU’s training has led to an increase in asylum seekers and migrants being intercepted at sea and pulled back to Libya, where they face indefinite detention and grave abuses.

© Al Marsad English (2020)