Italy will continue to finance the so-called Libyan coast guard

Italy will continue to finance the so-called Libyan coast guard

The Chamber has approved funding to the Libyan authorities, rejecting the contrary proposal of some deputies, despite the continuous violations of human rights and violence against migrants at sea

(photo: Benjamin Lowy / Getty Images) approved, with a large majority, the resolution authorizing and extending Italy's participation in international military missions. Among these, there is also the one that allows the financing of detention centers for migrants in Libya and the so-called "coast guard", despite the fact that international organizations, media and NGOs have repeatedly documented the violations of human rights committed by Libyan personnel against of migrants. In the approved text, the government undertook to "verify" the existence of the conditions for "overcoming the mission" and entrust it, from next year, to the European Union.

The resolution was supported by 438 votes in favor, 2 against and 2 abstentions. While the motion concerning assistance "towards the Libyan authorities" for the control of maritime borders passed with 361 yes, 54 no and 22 abstentions. The favorable vote also arrived Brothers of Italy, who for the first time sided with the majority that supports the current government. Instead, it abstained on the Libyan motion Italia viva, which motivated its decision by supporting the need to "exert maximum pressure" to prevent the "systematic violations of human rights" committed in the North African country, according to the Republic.

About fifty deputies of the Democratic Party and of Liberi e equequale were totally opposed to the motion, who presented a resolution calling for a halt to funding from the Libyan authorities, given the serious violations of human rights against migrants committed by the "coast guard" and in detention centers. 376 parliamentarians voted against their proposal, signed by the deputy Leu Erasmo Palazzotto. As an alternative, almost as if to relieve a burden on conscience, the majority approved the amendment to the text requested by the Democratic Party which commits the government to "verify" the possibility of entrusting the mission in Libya to the European Union. In this way, the torture and piracy of the so-called coast guard would continue to be financed, without the blame falling directly on Italy.

International reports

Just on the day of the vote, Amnesty international published the report "No one will look for you ': Forcibly returned from sea to abusive detention in Libya". In this document, the human rights organization has collected several testimonies of abuses and violence that took place in Libyan detention centers, during the first six months of 2021. Among these sexual violence against men, women and minors intercepted while trying to cross the Mediterranean.

The organization for the fight against poverty Oxfam, on the other hand, has updated its report on Italian military spending in Libya, highlighting an increase in our funding of about 500 thousand euros compared to last year. "32.6 million have been destined for the Libyan coastguard since 2017", reads the organization's website, bringing up to "271 the million spent by Italy for missions in the North African country".

What is the so-called Libyan "coast guard"

The "coast guard" is a military body composed mainly of former soldiers and traffickers, created, trained and financed by Italy to intercept migrants in the Mediterranean and bring them back to Libya , a country that does not recognize the 1951 Geneva Refugee Convention. Furthermore, very often, the "coast guard" does not intervene to rescue boats in distress, letting migrants die at sea. Only at the beginning of July, the NGO Sea Watch published videos in which it is possible to see members of the "coast guard" opening fire on a boat of migrants. While on March 20, more than 60 people died off the Libyan coast, abandoned to their fate despite the reports made by NGOs to the country's authorities.

Yesterday #Seabird witnessed a brutal attack by the so-called Libyan Coast Guard deep in the Maltese SAR zone. Our video shows: Shots have been fired in the direction of the boat, the so-called Libyan Coast Guard tried to ram the boat several times and threw objects at people.

- Sea-Watch International (@seawatch_intl) July 1, 2021

Human rights violations and the management of funds

Since 2017, over 600,000 people, including migrants and refugees, have been intercepted at sea by the coast guard and held in Libyan detention centers. These camps have been repeatedly denounced by international organizations, including the UN, for the violations of human rights that are perpetrated within them and for the inhumane conditions in which migrants are left. Italy has done very little so far to change this situation. Compared to the 20 million given for the "coast guard", the investment to improve the conditions of the detention centers was only 6 million in recent years and no project has yet been completed. Furthermore, there has been a total lack of monitoring by Italy with respect to the data funds in Tripoli over the past few years. According to various investigations, many of these loans ended up in the hands of traffickers and militias, the same ones who speculate on the smuggling of migrants, who are asking thousands of euros for almost impossible crossings.

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Italian Government Mario Draghi Migranti globalData.fldTopic = "Government, Italy, Mario Draghi, Migrants"

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