The International Humanitarian Law Center (IHLC) and the Euro-Med Monitor for human Rights warned against the aggravated number of the dead migrants and asylum seekers trying to cross the Mediterranean sea from Libya trying to reach Europe, The two above mentioned organizations drew attention to the four boats which have sunk near the Libyan cost last week, in addition to the significant increase of the smugglers activities for fear of the applying the restrictions and precautions at sea which have been agreed upon by the European Union following the European agreement signed in Brussels at the end of the last month.
On the 29th and 30th of June, the Libyan coast Guard rescued 776 migrants in three events, including more than 80 women and 11 children and recovered the corpses of dozens of others including three children.
According to the coast Guard, the migrants were deployed on four rubber boats that sailed from the area of Qarabulli, east of the capital Tripoli.
The boats did not sail far from the coast when they started to sink as they were very old and overcrowded and carrying migrants outnumbering their capacity a matter that led to the break out of fire in the engine of one of them, thus it sank at once, The number of people who downed is reported to be 104, but the real number in much larger.
The International Humanitarian Law Center (IHLC) based in Libya and the Geneva – based Euro-Med Monitor for human rights reported that the boats had carried immigrants from different Arab nationalities, including Egypt, Syria , Yemen , Sudan , Morocco as well as African ones including Ghana , Nigeria , Zambia , Eritrea , Ethiopia , South Sudan , Moon Islands and Bangladesh .
“The Libyan authorities should provide greater control over their coasts to protect migrants and asylum seekers from falling into the hands of smugglers’ networks and human traffickers who exploit them and build them in dilapidated boats,” said Mr. Moussa al-Kneidi, a representative of the Euro-Mediterranean Monitor in Libya. While the Libyan Coast Guard is highly estimated for saving more than 770 migrants, it should be noted that the rescue of the four boats was delayed because of a failure in a rescue patrol boat, which requires further action to improve the conditions and readiness of the rescue boats.
The two organizations expressed deep concern at the humanitarian situation in the Libyan detention centers of non-legal immigration centers to which the survivors of the drowning were transferred, they are feared to have been subjected to violence and torture as well as suffering from severe inhuman and hygienic conditions in the detention centers.
“These people have had a very bitter experience and their detention can never be justified; they must be placed in reception centers that take into account their needs and their health and psychological conditions,” he said. Calling on the Libyan authorities to respect human rights Standards in dealing with illegal immigrants and to have the opportunity to challenge the proceedings against them.
Libya – Italy is the most dangerous Mediterranean route this year, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), where 1,074 people drowned, compared to 45 people who drowned near the Turkish coasts and 293 people who had drowned in the western Mediterranean.
In a related context, the two organizations attributed the increase in the number of migrants and asylum seekers at sea from Libya to Italy recently, and the high rate of drowning, to the new European policies announced after the meeting of European countries in Brussels on June 29th, to Control the European coastal border and provide more support to the Libyan coast forces to prevent the flow of migrants across the Mediterranean Sea to Europe.
The two organizations explained that the agreement calls for the establishment of so-called “regional landing pads” outside the EU, where migrants and refugees rescued from international waters are collected and examined if they deserve to go to Europe.
With regard to refugees who have access to Europe, they will be detained in accordance with the agreement within controlled centers in order to be subsequently transferred to European countries willing to receive them for asylum or deportation. The agreement also provides for the expansion of the powers of the European Frontier Corps and the increase of its resources to increase the control of the EU’s external borders.
“This agreement has led to an increase in smugglers and their work to speed up the smuggling of asylum seekers and migrants before the start of the practical procedures for the agreement,” he said. “This agreement comes after a series of bilateral agreements between the EU and other countries such as Turkey and Libya, , Including those fleeing wars and conflicts, making them easy prey for traffickers and traffickers, rather than providing safe, legitimate and humane treatment. ”
Both the Euro-Mediterranean Monitor for Human Rights and the International Humanitarian Law Center (IHLC) called on EU countries to take collective responsibility for migrants and refugees trying to reach Europe and provide safe routes for them instead of further obstacles and leaving them to face dangerous sea routes and traffickers. The two organizations also stressed the duty to provide aid to the Libyan authorities to provide more control over their coasts and to develop rescue operations in their territorial waters and to replace the detention centers where the survivors are transferred to reception centers where health and psychological care is provided and their humanitarian needs are respected.