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MEPs demand urgent EU action on alarming situation for refugees in Libya

04/09/2018

GUE/NGL is calling on the EU and member states to take urgent action to evacuate refugees and migrants in Libya to safety in the EU and suspend support to the so-called Libyan coast guard.

MEPs demand urgent EU action on alarming situation for refugees in Libya

GUE/NGL is seeking to put this issue on the agenda of next week’s European Parliament plenary session and holding an event with more information from those on the ground on Thursday morning.
 
In recent days, the situation for thousands of refugees and migrants detained and stranded in Tripoli has deteriorated due to escalating violence between militia groups.
 
Many of these refugees and migrants are among the thousands who have tried to escape to Italy since February 2017, but were intercepted and returned to Libya by the EU-backed Libyan coast guard. Many are now trapped in detention centres without food and water.
 
Reports indicate that at least six people have died of starvation in the past week.
 
The recent fighting has also meant that guards are fleeing detention centres and leaving refugees even more vulnerable to armed groups and traffickers.
 
Yesterday the UNHCR declared Libya unsafe for returns, instructing governments to give refuge to anyone fleeing the country.
 
MEP Marie-Christine Vergiat, explains: “For months we have been denouncing the deterioration of the situation in Libya and the consequences for Sub-Saharan migrants of the European negotiations undertaken with the Libyan ‘government’, which controls only a tiny part of the country, while the rest is controlled by various militias.”
 
“More than 8,000 refugees and migrants have already been abandoned in Tripoli without food or water.
 
“The situation has deteriorated to such a severe point that the UNHCR is suggesting it will leave Libya.
 
“We are calling for a debate in the plenary with the aim to have these people evacuated from Libya by the UNHCR and to end all refoulement of migrants to Libya,” Vergiat concludes.  
 
International organisations also say they cannot move around Tripoli due to safety concerns and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees has even suggested that the UNHCR might pull out of the country.
 
MEPs Marie-Christine Vergiat and Martina Anderson will table Priority Written Questions addressed to the Council and Commission on this issue with the support of 20 MEPs from various political groups including the Greens/EFA, S&D, ALDE, EPP and GUE/NGL.
 
The decision on whether to put the issue on the agenda of the European Parliament plenary session in Strasbourg will be taken at this Thursday’s Conference of Presidents meeting.
 
GUE/NGL will hold an event titled ‘Trading Humans in Libya and Middle East’ in the European Parliament this Thursday at 9.00am with further details about the situation in Libya from investigative journalists, NGOs, survivors and other organisations.
 
Watch the event online via live streaming

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