Migrants intercepted at sea and forcibly returned to Libya often suffer abuse at detention centres, a new Amnesty International report has said.
Libya “legitimised” abuses by taking over two detention centres from where hundreds of refugees and migrants had forcibly disappeared by militias, the report says.
“At one recently rebranded centre, survivors said guards raped women and subjected them to sexual violence including by coercing them into sex in exchange for food or their freedom,” Amnesty said in a press release.
The human rights groups said the report showed the consequences of Europe’s cooperation with Libya on migration and border control. Amnesty is calling on EU states to stop working with Libya.
One of these facilities is Tripoli’s Shara al-Zawiya centre – both the Pope and the UN has called for these detention centres to be closed.
“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,” said Diana Eltahawy, Amnesty International’s deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa.
Despite being plunged into chaos after the fall of the Gaddafi regime in 2011, Libya has become a favoured springboard for migrants seeking a better life in Europe.
Italy’s parliament is currently debating their military support to Libyan coastguards.