Amnesty International Says Libyan Migrants Are Subjected to ‘Systematic Torture’ in Detention Centers

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Amnesty International has denounced the “horrific violations” being committed against Libyan migrants in detention centers at the hands of the staff.

According to the human rights organization’s report, some of the many atrocities include sexual violence against men, women, and children intercepted while crossing the Mediterranean Sea.

Amnesty also condemns migrants being forcibly returned to detention centers in Libya, highlighting Europe’s ongoing cooperation with Libya on migration and border control.

“This horrifying report sheds new light on the suffering of people intercepted at sea and returned to Libya, where they are immediately funnelled into arbitrary detention and systematically subjected to torture, sexual violence, forced labour and other exploitation with total impunity,” Diana Eltahawy, Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.

“Meanwhile, Libyan authorities have rewarded those reasonably suspected of committing such violations with positions of power and higher ranks, meaning that we risk seeing the same horrors reproduced again and again.”

Italy and the European Union have for years financed, trained and provided aid to coastguards to stop smugglers from transporting migrants and refugees across the Mediterranean to Europe.

There have also been several reports of migrants being shot by guards.

Last July, Libyan authorities fatally shot three Sudanese migrants trying to flee detention after attempting to cross the Mediterranean to Europe, a U.N. agency said.

“Staff from the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Khums, reported that local authorities started shooting when the migrants attempted to escape from the disembarkation point,” IOM said in a statement at the time.

In April of this year, one migrant was killed and two others, ages 17 and 18, were wounded and taken to a hospital following a shooting in a detention center for migrants in Libya’s capital.

Amnesty International says it is “calling on European states to suspend cooperation on migration and border control with Libya.”

This week Italy’s parliament will debate the continuation of their military support to Libyan coastguards.

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