Geneva – The Libyan coastguard officers' whipping of a group of migrants rescued near Libya’s Sabratha is a despicable violation of human rights, says the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor. The coastguard officers were caught on video while beating and humiliating migrants—including women and children- they have fished out of the Mediterranean.
Recently, the European Union has proposed to train Libyan coastguard forces in prevention of migrants smuggling. "There is no more urgent time than now for the EU to implement its proposal," says Ramy Abdu, chairman of the Euro-Med Monitor. "In addition, the EU should exercise more pressure on these forces to make their actions more compliant with the rights of refugees and asylum seekers."
Since the drowning of nearly 450 migrants in September 2014, the Euro-Med Monitor has been urging for the development and application of effective measures to ensure the safety of refugees and asylum seekers crossing through the Mediterranean.
"Lives first," stresses Abdu. "Migrants cannot be treated with terror and oppression when they are escaping terror and oppression!"
In July 2016, Human Rights Watch documented similar cases in which Libyan coastguard forces assaulted immigrants verbally and physically.
More than 4,578 migrants drowned in the Mediterranean in 2016, following an agreement between the EU and Turkey and the closure of the Balkan route.
"Migrants smuggled from Libya are subject to human trafficking, torture, forced labor, sexual exploitation and arbitrary detention through their way," says the Martin Kobler, Head of UN Support Mission in Libya.