Sunday, 5/4/2020 | 10:31 UTC+0
Libyan Newswire

Written question – Horrors along Libya-Italy sea route – E-004619/2017

According to the testimony of an eye-witness rescuer(1), the Libyan coast guard is shooting refugees and migrants attempting to reach Europe via the Libya-Italy sea route in cold blood. Armed men board the boats, beat and rob the refugees and force them to Libya, although they are in international waters. ‘The Libyans were aiming directly at these people,’ said the witness. ‘A Moroccan defied their weapons and jumped into the sea without a life jacket. The Libyans made no attempt to rescue him, and left him to drown.’ Those who return to Libya are sold into slavery and the women are forced into prostitution.

The Libyan paramilitary is funded by the European Union as a result of an agreement reached at the Malta Summit in February 2017 which also provides training, equipment and support to the Libyan coast guard.

The situation has worsened as, since April, the Italian coast guard and Frontex have drastically reduced the number of boats available. Rescue organisations have been left to their own devices at a time when they have come under attack by the media with manufactured news, altered photos and false information.

In view of this:

1. Is the Commission aware of the conduct of the Libyan coast guard and how would it comment on it?
2. Does it agree with the Italian government’s position that rescue organisations serve to attract migrants and refugees?