This is the last article you can read this month
You can read more article this month
You can read more articles this month
Sorry your limit is up for this month
THE Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) condemned the European Union (EU) today for scrapping its rescue missions after at least 11 people drowned off the coast of Libya when their boat capsized on Sunday.
“This tragedy and those before were completely avoidable had Europe stepped up and allowed rescue missions to bring migrants to safety, rather than shift responsibility to others,” NRC spokesman Dax Roque said.
Last month, 130 people drowned in a shipwreck as they tried to make their way from Libya to Europe along the perilous Central Mediterranean route, the deadliest incident in years.
The latest tragedy took place off near the western Libyan town of Zawiya, according to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).
“The continuous loss of life calls for an urgent change in approach to the situation in Libya and the Central Med,” an IOM statement said.
The 12 people who were rescued after Sunday’s shipwreck were taken back to Libya where rights groups warn they will be housed in “squalid conditions” in one of the country’s migrant detention centres.
The EU has funnelled millions to the Libyan coastguard in a bid to prevent migrants from reaching its shores, despite widespread allegations of rape, torture and trafficking when they are taken back to detention centres.
A 2019 Associated Press (AP) report found that “huge sums of European money have been diverted to intertwined networks of militiamen, traffickers and coastguard members who exploit migrants.”
In some cases UN officials knew that militia networks were getting the money, according to internal emails seen by AP.
As many as 7,000 Europe-bound migrants were intercepted and returned to Libya so far this year, according to the IOM, despite concerns over their treatment.
“Libya is not currently a safe place for this community,” Mr Roque said. “More than half a million migrants, refugees and asylum-seekers are in Libya, many living in dire conditions.
“Migrants, refugees and asylum-seekers are among the most vulnerable people in Libya and face arbitrary detention in inhumane conditions, exploitation, kidnapping, sexual violence, high rates of torture, disappearances, extortion, among other abuses,” he added.
Mr Roque said that “safe and legal pathways to reach Europe are practically non-existent, pushing them to risk their lives in this way.”
The NRC has called for the EU to rethink its policy on migrant rescue operations following a spike in those trying to make the crossing from Libya in recent weeks.
“With summer on the horizon, we expect more people to take this perilous journey,” Mr Roque said.
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by joining the 501 club.
Just £5 a month gives you the opportunity to win one of 17 prizes, from £25 to the £501 jackpot.
By becoming a 501 Club member you are helping the Morning Star cover its printing, distribution and staff costs — help keep our paper thriving by joining!
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by become a member of the People’s Printing Press Society.
The Morning Star is a readers’ co-operative, which means you can become an owner of the paper too by buying shares in the society.
Shares are £1 each — though unlike capitalist firms, each shareholder has an equal say. Money from shares contributes directly to keep our paper thriving.
Some union branches have taken out shares of over £500 and individuals over £100.
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by donating to the Fighting Fund.
The Morning Star is unique, as a lone socialist voice in a sea of corporate media. We offer a platform for those who would otherwise never be listened to, coverage of stories that would otherwise be buried.
The rich don’t like us, and they don’t advertise with us, so we rely on you, our readers and friends. With a regular donation to our monthly Fighting Fund, we can continue to thumb our noses at the fat cats and tell truth to power.
Donate today and make a regular contribution.