Submission to Independent Fact-Finding Mission on Libya on EU & its Member States’ Responsibilities
10 August 2021
The Global Legal Action Network (GLAN) has made a submission to the United Nations Independent Fact-Finding Mission on Libya (IFFM) relying on the legal interventions made by GLAN along with others to various regional and international bodies (including SS v Italy to the European Court of Human Rights, SDG v Italy to the United Nations Human Rights Committee, and the complaint submitted to the European Court of Auditors) with a view to challenging the harmful policies of the EU and its Member States and their effects on asylum-seekers, refugees and other migrants making their way from, or through, Libya to the EU. The submission surveys various legal and factual bases for the EU and its Member States’ separate and joint international responsibilities for endorsing, wrongfully assisting, enabling, and contributing to the development and implementation of policies and practices of illegal pushback at the EU’s external borders, that we urge the FFM to consider in its analysis with a view to adopting its findings. The illegal pushbacks – facilitated and enabled through different forms of co-operation between the EU and its Member States, in particular Italy and Malta, on the one hand, and Libyan actors, on the other – amount to serious violations of human rights obligations, including the right to life, the right to leave any country including one’s own, the right to asylum, and the prohibitions of ill treatment, refoulement, enslavement and collective expulsion. These violations are committed in Libyan territory, within the contested Libyan Search and Rescue Region, and on the high seas in operations carried out by the Libyan Coastguard but enabled and facilitated by European actors, thus falling well within the remit of the IFFM mandate. We argue that current EU and Member State policies and practices amount to their involvement in the commission, along with Libyan actors, of serious violations against asylum-seekers, refugees and other migrants, including their being summarily and violently forced back to Libya and suffering abuse at sea and in detention centres upon disembarkation, without consideration of their human rights and an individual assessment of their international protection needs. In light of this, we call for European perpetrators to be held accountable for their complicity in such actions.
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