EU/Libya: New briefing ahead of EU justice and home affairs meeting calls for halt to expulsions

Amnesty International understands that EU justice and home affairs ministers will discuss future co-operation with Libya on illegal immigration on the basis of a report by the European Commission following a mission to the country late last year.

Amnesty International has called for this report to be made public to allow a dialogue involving all relevant bodies including the European Parliament.

Director of Amnesty International’s EU Office Dick Oosting said. "The European Union must recognise that in Libya there is effectively no guarantee of refugee rights.

"Libya does not allow the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to operate properly in the country and people forcibly returned to Libya from Europe risk degrading detention conditions and further expulsion to countries where they may face imprisonment and torture.

"In this context, deportations of ‘irregular migrants’ to Libya by EU member states - in particular by Italy and Malta - should be immediately halted as these removals may be in breach of international law."

In its briefing paper, Amnesty International outlines its concerns about EU states developing "ad hoc" cooperation mechanisms with Libya on illegal immigration without adequate human rights safeguards.

Dick Oosting added:

"This would in fact undermine the credibility of the EU’s own 'Barcelona Process' with Mediterranean countries which, among other things, aims to enhance the respect for human rights throughout the region.

"If the EU is to engage with Libya, the dialogue and cooperation at EU level should, as a minimum, include clear human rights conditionality."

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