EU countries ignoring maltreatment, torture of migrants coming from Libya

Migrants sit after they were rescued off the shore, in Tripoli, Libya, 16 May 2016

European leaders must open safe and legal routes for refugees and migrants crossing the Mediterranean rather than ignoring abuse perpetuated by Libyan forces, an Irish doctor has warned.

European Union-led attempts to stop refugees crossing the Mediterranean through collaboration with Libyan authorities would only fuel the smuggling industry, said Dr Conor Kenny.
The Sligo-born doctor has spent three months this year working on board the Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) search and rescue vessel MV Aquarius, in the Mediterranean.

The vast majority of injuries suffered by migrants that he has treated while on board the rescue ship were the result of abuse and torture in Libyan detention centres, he declared.

“I haven’t been to Libya but these people’s stories are corroborated in rescue upon rescue. It’s clear these abuses are happening. Many are beaten in detention centres and some are shot. They say they would rather die at sea than go back to Libya.”

“When I see dead bodies floating on a Wednesday afternoon in the calm Mediterranean sea, I just think we need a proper approach to save these lives. The work of NGOs in the Mediterranean is important but we are not the solution to this problem.”

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