The Address | Benghazi – Libya
ROME – “Tens of thousands of refugees and migrants are trapped in a war zone. Those who try to escape by sea risk being intercepted and taken back to detention centers. By helping to stop people at sea and detain them in Libya, Italy has made itself complicit in this situation,” these are the harsh words of Marie Struthers, director of Amnesty International for Europe, towards Italy, who renewed the memorandum with Libya on migrants yesterday.
The Italy-Libya memorandum was automatically renewed on February 2, 2020, three years after its subscription. The term of the agreement was therefore extended for another three years without changing the contents of the document as promised by the government last November.
On the basis of the agreement, Italy supports the Libyan maritime authorities to stop migrant boats at sea and to bring people back to the overcrowded detention centers in Libya, where they are illegally detained and suffer serious violence, including rape and torture.
“The Italian government’s decision to ignore the horrible abuses inflicted on tens of thousands of people in Libya and renew the Italy-Libya memorandum, which traps these people in the war-torn country, is a shameful manifestation of where they are willing to go European governments to keep migrants and refugees away from their shores,” says Struthers.
“In the first three years of signing the agreement, at least 40,000 people , including thousands of minors, have been intercepted at sea, brought back to Libya and subjected to unimaginable suffering,” adds Struthers.
“The governments of Italy and Libya must find an agreement to update the terms of their cooperation”, concludes Struthers, “focusing on the protection of migrants and refugees, the evacuation of those who are in detention centers and the creation of legal channels and confident with which these people can reach Europe “.