EU blamed for ‘soaring’ migrant death toll
Failing EU policies have been blamed by the Amnesty International has blamed for the soaring death toll among refugees and migrants in the central Mediterranean.
A report has said that “cynical deals” with Libya has consigned thousands to the risk of drowning, rape and torture.
It further stated that the EU has been turning a blind eye towards the abuses in Libyan detention centers, it further added that it mostly leaving it up to sea rescue charities to save migrants.
The report has said that in 2017, more than 2,000 people have died in trying to get to Europe.
So far no public comments have been made by the EU on Amnesty’s report.
It comes as interior ministers from the 28-member bloc are meeting in Tallinn, Estonia, to discuss the migrant crisis.
The interior ministers from the 28 member bloc will be reviewing a $92m (£71m) action plan which was unveiled by the European Commission to deal with the issue.
It has been proposed by the commission to use more than 50% of the funds to boost the Libyan coastguard’s capacity and to stop traffickers from launching boatloads of migrants out to sea to be rescued.
The rest of the funds will be used to help Italy feed, house and process the migrants who get there.
Said John Dalhuisen, Amnesty’s Europe director “Rather than acting to save lives and offer protection, European ministers… are shamelessly prioritising reckless deals with Libya in a desperate bid to prevent refugees and migrants from reaching Italy. He added that “European states have progressively turned their backs on a search and rescue strategy that was reducing mortality at sea in favour of one that has seen thousands drown and left desperate men, women and children trapped in Libya, exposed to horrific abuses,”
According to Amnesty’s report measures which were implemented by the EU to strengthen search and rescue in the central Mediterranean in 2015 had dramatically decreased deaths at sea.
The document however says that this priority was short lived, adding that the EU had later shifted its priorities to disrupting smugglers and preventing departures from Libya.
Amnesty’s report further said that such practices and an increasing use of unseaworthy boats had made the sea even more unsafe.
The rights group further warned that the Interceptions by the Libyan coastguard often put refugees and migrants at risk.
It further added that there had been serious allegations that coastguard members had been colluding with smugglers and abusing migrants.
Mr Dalhuisen said “If the second half of this year continues as the first and urgent action is not taken, 2017 looks set to become the deadliest year for the deadliest migration route in the world,”
“The EU must rethink its co-operation with Libya’s woefully dysfunctional coastguard and deploy more vessels where they are desperately needed.”
Mr Dalhuisen stressed that “ultimately the only sustainable and humane way to reduce the numbers risking such horrific journeys is to open more safe and legal routes for migrants and refugees to reach Europe.”
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