Stop the selling and detention of refugees and migrants in Libya

Torture, detention, exploitation and rape are daily horrors for many refugees and migrants in Libya. Instead of stopping these abuses, Europe is helping Libya to trap people in slave-like conditions. By training and providing the Libyan coastguard with ships to transport migrants back to the country, European leaders are complicit in the tragic fate of migrants and refugees seeking to leave Libya.

Footage, pictures and documents reviewed by Amnesty International indicate that a boat donated by Italy in April 2017, the Ras Jadir, was used by the Libyan Coast Guard during a horrific incident on 6 November 2017, where their reckless actions contributed to the drowning of up to 50 people.

More than 20,000 migrants, refugees and asylum seekers are being held in detention centres, at the mercy of militias and armed groups, with no sense of when or if they will ever be released. They face inhumane conditions - with little access to food, water or medical care - and brutal treatment, including torture, rape – and even being sold.

Call on Libyan and European leaders to protect migrants and refugees from horrific human rights abuses.

Dear Prime Minister Fayez Al-Sarraj and President of the European Commission Jean Claude Juncker,


I am writing to express my grave concern regarding the shocking reports of abuses of migrants and refugees in Libya. 

There more than 20 000 migrants and refugees currently detained in Libya in official detention centers run by militias and armed groups loosely affiliated to the Government. These militias are holding these migrants and refugees in horrific conditions, without access to food, water or medication. They constantly commit the most appalling abuses, including torture, extortion, bounded labour and sexual abuses.


I'm deeply worried that by training, equipping and supporting the Libyan coastguard, Europe is trapping migrants and refugees in Libya and fuelling these abuses. 

Confining people in cruelty cannot be a solution, therefore I urge you to:


•    Release all migrants and refugees from detention centers and end the arbitrary detention of refugees and migrants in Libya

•    Investigate all allegations of torture and other ill-treatment of refugees and migrants in Libya, and ensure that the suspected perpetrators are prosecuted in a transparent and fair trial to put an end to the vicious cycle of abuse.

•    Review how they cooperate on migration policies, to prioritise protecting the human rights of refugees and migrants, instead of trapping people in Libya

•    Formally recognize the UNHCR and allow the organization to carry out its full mandate including the protection of asylum seekers and refugees.

[Your comments here]


Yours sincerely,
[Your name]

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