Around 40 human rights organisations have called on the Italian authorities to end a controversial agreement signed with Libya to stop the flow of migrants to Europe.
In 2017, the European Union (EU) signed an agreement with Libya under which Rome contributes to the funding, training, and equipment of the Libyan coastguard, which then intercepts migrants in the Mediterranean and forcibly returns them to Libya.
In a press conference in Rome on 26 October, Claudia Lodesani, head of Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières) in Italy, said that “Europe, as a defender of human rights, must never enter into an agreement with a country [...] where migrants are tortured, enslaved, or sexually abused.”
According to the NGOs that signed the appeal, around 100,000 people have been intercepted in this way in five years. Many would have ended up in Libyan detention centres, compared by Pope Francis to concentration camps.