The reason for this is that this EU strategy to end the Mediterranean movement
EU Leaders have reached an agreement to provide the government of Libya, backed by the UN, with 200 million euros to tackle migration. This includes a boost in funds of the Libyan coastguard, with the general goal to stop migrants from vessels from crossing through the Mediterranean and heading to Italy.
Based on the alleged effectiveness of the agreement between the EU and Turkey to block migrants’ boats from reaching Greece off the coast to the west of Turkey, also commonly referred to as the eastern Mediterranean route, the deal is expected to achieve the same impact across the center Mediterranean in the year 2017.
In the wake of the EU-Turkey agreement and the EU-Turkey deal, the central Mediterranean was transformed into the main road to Europe with over 200,000 arriving in Italy.
The EUR200 million pledged by EU leaders won’t solve the Mediterranean refugee crisis. Yves Herman/Reuters
It is a given that Libya is a dangerous country. Many western countries have travel restrictions on Libya, which is ripped by civil war and has not been able to establish the benefit of a functioning central administration since the year 2011.
In December of last year, the UN document said:
The current situation that migrants face in Libya is an issue of human rights. The deterioration of law enforcement has resulted in a state of impunity in which armed groups, criminal gangs, smugglers, and traffickers manage migration across the country.
The government of the UN is in a weak position and has no influence over the eastern part of the state. It is believed that as many as 2,000 militias are operating in Libya and currently control the coast. It comprises Islamic State and several other non-jihadist and jihadist groups.
It is clear that the situation in Libya is different from Turkey that, despite worries regarding the crackdown on dissent after an attempted coup attempt in 2016 is governed by a fairly stable administration that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan heads.
Libya is not Turkey
There are two main distinctions in Libya and Turkey in relation to the return of refugees.
The first is the right of asylum. In Turkey, there are certain Syrian refugees who are entitled to seek protection from the government for Turkey’s Turkish government. The refugee agency of the United Nations is in operation within Turkey, which means that migrants are able to be granted refugee status from any country of their origin.
At the very least, migrants can seek refugee status in Turkey. Umit Bektas/Reuters
Although Libya is a signatory of the Geneva Convention on Refugees the,re’s no process to allow migrants to seek asylum, neither through the government nor the UN. What can be done to ensure that refugee and asylum rights be secured in Libya in the absence of a way to seek asylum in the first in the first
The second concern is the security of the migrants. It is often said that stopping the boats could ensure the lives of migrants. 5,083 people were killed crossing the Mediterranean in the year 2016 over all modes. However, we are not capable of knowing the number who died before reaching the Mediterranean.
In Libya, we do not have public information on the deaths of migrants. A report published from the German Embassy in Niger states that migrants were executed in prisons that traffickers operate. The report’s writers: “Witnesses spoke of five executions a week in one prison”.
The research conducted in the context of the MEDMIG program discovered that 29% of the respondents claimed to have witnessed the deaths of fellow travelers on their way. The majority of these deaths took place within Algeria, Niger and Libya but not in the Mediterranean.
I’ve made similar discoveries during my current research. Over the past month, I’ve been in Sicily conducting interviews with migrants who recently came from Africa. I have observed their eyes young males who tremble and reminisce about their experiences in Libya. For those who live in Libya, the nightmare isn’t about the sea, but the horror is Libya.
One man I spoke to said that he was in Libya together with his entire family members when ISIL attacked and seized the country. He was watching as ISIL soldiers killed his daughter, who was just four years old in Libya. He fled Libya became a crisis as his entire family fled north over the Mediterranean.
There are believed to be over 2000 rebel groups operating from Libya. Reuters
There is no way to monitor the number of deaths among migrants from Libya as well as other African transit countries like Algeria and Niger. It is difficult to estimate the number of migrants killed within these nations. A little research has been conducted on this issue by IOM’s IOM Missing Migrants project, which reports on deaths during transit in Africa; however, the figures are believed to be gross underestimations.