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Amnesty International accuses EU of intentionally returning immigrants to Libya

Amnesty International has called on the European Union to reconsider its cooperation with Libya over “horrific abuses” being committed against refugees and migrants in the North African country.

In a new report published on Thursday, Amnesty International criticised the EU and its member states for supporting the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) and its coastguard in its efforts to intercept refugees and migrants at sea and take them back to Libya.

“Instead of being protected, they are met with a catalogue of appalling human rights abuses,” said Diana Eltahawy, deputy regional director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.

“Even in 2020, the EU and its member states continue to implement policies trapping tens of thousands of men, women and children in a vicious cycle of abuse,” she added.

“The EU and its member states must completely reconsider their cooperation with Libyan authorities, making any further support conditional on immediate action to stop horrific abuses against refugees and migrants.”

Amnesty said the EU – which on Wednesday announced a long-awaited proposal for settling refugees and sending rejected asylum seekers home from the bloc – did not pressure the UN-brokered GNA to respect the rights of refugees and migrants.

“Despite regular promises by the Libyan authorities to take action against such crimes, most remain unsolved and unpunished,” said Markus Beeko, the group’s secretary general in Germany.

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