According to a report by Amnesty International, the militia of General Khalifa Haftar has forcibly expelled more than 5,000 refugees in 2020.
This was detailed in a lengthy report supported by testimonies of Libyan migrants and refugees, one day after the European Commission (EC) announced a new pact to control illegal immigration into European countries.
The London-based organisation stated in the report: “The eastern forces have forcibly expelled more than 5,000 refugees in 2020, without due legal process or the opportunity to challenge the deportation.”
The organisation explained that Haftar’s forces justified the forced deportation by alleging that refugees carry contagious diseases. However, no details were given regarding the exact destination of the displaced individuals.
Amnesty International criticised the policy of the European Union (EU) countries in intercepting Libyan refugees and returning them to their countries, noting: “Migrants in Libya are trapped in a vicious circle of violations. The refugees risk their lives crossing the sea to seek safety and security in Europe. They are then intercepted and sent back to face the same vicious circle of excessive violations in Libya.”
The human rights report confirmed that EU countries continue to: “Implement policies besieging tens of thousands of Libyan men, women and children in a vicious circle of violations, showing callous disregard for people’s lives and dignity.”
On Wednesday, the EC announced a new migration pact to serve as a major pillar for strengthening cooperation with countries outside the EU, with the aim of controlling illegal immigration.
President of the EC Ursula von der Leyen asserted in a statement in Brussels that Europe must prove to the world that it is capable of managing the migrants and asylum seekers file, as it had previously managed other issues.
Due to internal turmoil in recent years, Libya has become the most important crossing point to Europe for illegal African migrants fleeing poverty and conflict in their countries.