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Controversial agreement between Italy and Tripoli coastguard renewed for three years

The Address | Benghazi – Libya

TRIPOLI – The renewal of a controversial 2017 agreement between Italy and the Tripoli-based coastguard governing migrants crossing the Mediterranean Sea officially entered into effect on Sunday, February 2 for a period of three years.

Under the terms of the new agreement, which aims to curb the arrival of migrants in Europe, Italy will provide financial assistance to the Tripoli-based Government of Fayez al-Sarraj (GNA) in order that the Tripoli coastguard is trained in rescue operations.

Agreed to in October and supported by the European Union, the renewal of the accord is “beyond comprehension” for Amnesty International.

According to the NGO, this “odious” agreement ignores the “suffering inflicted” on migrants in Libya. “Italy decided to update this memorandum even though the situation in Libya is still catastrophic, even worse than three years ago. This is shocking,” Lola Schulmann, Amnesty International’s refugee and migrant advocacy officer, told InfoMigrants.

“In comparison to 2017, we now have more information on violations committed by the Libyan coast guard and the conditions of detention of migrants in Libya.”

As evidence of the deteriorating situation on the ground, the GDF transit center in Tripoli, run by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), in conjunction with the Libyan authorities, ceased operations at the end of January.

The center had originally been set up to accommodate vulnerable refugees and asylum seekers pending evacuation to a third country.

Hundreds of migrants have since been left to fend for themselves as fighting in the area has intensified.

Additionally, an internal report on systematic human rights violations in Libyan detention centers, deaths, unexplained disappearances and corruption was released in November.

InfoMigrants

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