Forced labor, torture and abuse: the reality for Libya’s refugees(Amnesty Int. & Freedom United, Sept 25, 020)

In a new report released this week, Amnesty International reiterates calls on the European Union (EU) to cease supporting the Libyan Coast Guard in light of further evidence of appalling human rights abuses endured by refugees and migrants attempting to flee the country.Conditions in Libya are dire. Migrants and refugees live in fear of being arrested and sent to detention centers, notorious for the extreme violence and torture that is committed there. Traffickers and militias pose an additional threat as they seek to abduct vulnerable migrants for the purposes of forced labor and extortion. Interviews with refugees and migrants disclose the horrific abuses they are subject to in the country including “unlawful killings; enforced disappearances; torture and other ill-treatment; rape and other sexual violence; arbitrary detention; and forced labour and exploitation at the hands of government authorities or militia groups.”Yet, the EU continues to collaborate with the Libyan Coast Guard, responsible for forcibly returning tens of thousands of refugees attempting to escape Libya via the Mediterranean Sea to reach safety in Europe.It is unacceptable that the EU continues to play a supporting role in perpetuating egregious human rights abuses in Libya by providing the Libyan Coast Guard with “speedboats, training and assistance”.