Italy Sued for Abuse of African Migrants

Italian Parliament

Tripoli, Libya, November 15, 2019//- Human rights groups are suing Italy for alleged involvement in the abuse of migrants rescued at sea.

At the core of the case are the events of November 2017, when a boat carrying an estimated 150 people started sinking in international waters off the Libyan coast.

A vessel belonging to a non-governmental group and a patrol boat operated by the Libyan Coast Guard, linked with the United Nations-recognised Government of National Accord, but donated by Italy, rescued them.

However, the Coast Guard is accused of abusing the rescued individuals throwing objects at them and beat them.

An unknown number of people died, including children.

Survivors were reportedly taken back to Libya where they suffered further abuse in detention.

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have submitted a joint third-party intervention to the European Court of Human Rights, calling for a probe on Italy regarding its indirect involvement in the abuses.

Rights groups believe the case provides a crucial opportunity to secure accountability under the European Convention for Italy’s substantial role in shaping Libya’s border and migration control policy.

They believe Italian European Union support to Libya is instrumental in enabling abuses by Libyan authorities against refugees and migrants during interceptions at sea and upon return to Libya.

“It should not, as such, be without consequence,” the rights groups stated.

Italy sued for abuse of African migrants

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