Libya: Council of Europe, Italy-Coast Guard – Africa agreement stops


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

“I regret that the Italian authorities have not already canceled, or at least changed the terms, of the Memorandum with Libya, which will be automatically renewed on February 2nd,” highlights Mijatovic. “In 2019 I have already indicated that certain types of assistance given to the Libyan coastguard have increased the return of migrants, including asylum seekers, to Libya where they have been victims of serious violations of their rights,” continues the commissioner. “There is ample evidence that these violations continue and security in the country is worsening because of the armed conflict,” says Mijatovic. “For this reason I call the Italian government to urgently suspend cooperation activities with the Libyan coastguard which have a direct or indirect impact on the return to Libya of the people intercepted at sea until it is certain that there are no solid guarantees on the respect for human rights, “says the Commissioner. Meanwhile, the commissioner says, Italy and other states must help international organizations ensure the release of refugees, asylum seekers and migrants from places of detention in Libya, and facilitate the creation of humanitarian corridors. “To avoid further deaths at sea, countries must also deploy a sufficient number of ships in the Mediterranean that have the mission of searching for and rescuing shipwrecked people,” says Mijatovic.

The Libyan dossier and the Memorandum between Italy and Libya was reportedly at the center of an ad hoc summit organized this morning at Palazzo Chigi between Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and the competent ministers, including the head of the foreign ministry Luigi Di Maio and the interior minister Luciana Lamorgese. The summit took place before the CDM on the coronavirus at 10 am.

“The United States’ commitment to Libya is very important and they must put all their political weight on the table to arrive at a political and non-military solution”: defense minister Lorenzo Guerini said in a press conference at the Pentagon with Defense Secretary Marc Esper, stressing that “the entry of Russia and Turkey has contributed to intensifying tensions in the country”.

Doctors Without Borders (MSF) asks the Italian authorities not to renew the agreement with Libya signed three years ago because it contributes to perpetuating the exposure of migrants and refugees to violence, refoulements, exploitation and arbitrary detention. “Ignoring the consequences of these agreements – says Marco Bertotto, head of MSF humanitarian affairs – is impossible, as well as inhumane. Thanks to Italy’s support, innocent and vulnerable people are trapped in a country at war, forced to live situations of danger and threat or subjected to an arbitrary and ruthless detention system. Most of those who manage to escape are systematically intercepted at sea and again rejected in detention centers or in illegal circuits of exploitation and violence. While the most vulnerable pay the higher price, the networks of human traffickers, on land and at sea, fuel their turnover. ” “At a time when even UNHCR – he adds – was forced to withdraw from the transit center in Tripoli due to the conflict, and given the obvious impossibility of negotiating a substantial improvement of these agreements with the Libyan authorities, we believe indispensable proceed with their immediate cancellation. This shame – he concludes – cannot be renewed “.

“Those in Libya who go hand in hand with a war baron cannot criticize Turkey. Those who arm and pay mercenaries from all over the world, from Sudan to Russia, to be in the pay of the coup coup general Haftar, now allow themselves with profound hypocrisy to criticize us. ” So Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, after the accusations in Ankara of violations of the truce agreed at the Berlin conference, which came in particular from France. “Those who support a coup, instead of taking sides with the legitimate government and the people in Libya, betray democracy first and foremost,” added Erdogan.

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