COE Human Rights Commissioner Thomas Hammarberg has made an urgent request to the Italian Government for information on alleged human rights violations of Eritrean migrants in Libya, including Eritreans who may have been among persons intercepted at sea by Italy and forcibly returned to Libya without being afforded an opportunity to seek international protection.
In a letter to the Italian Foreign Minister, Commissioner Hammarberg wrote “[g]iven the recent decision of the Libyan authorities to discontinue UNHCR’s activities in the country, it is increasingly difficult to confirm the exact accuracy of these reports. However, given their consistency and the seriousness of the allegations, I hope that I can count on your cooperation to urgently clarify the situation with the Libyan authorities and be kept informed about the results of your investigations.”
The Foreign Minister and Interior Minister have written a joint letter to the Il Foglio newspaper where they say that the Italian Government “was mediating with Tripoli to identify the Eritreans and try to find them employment in Libya so that they would not be forcibly repatriated.” According to Reuters, the ministers also said “it was necessary to respect Libyan sovereignty and [they] called for an international approach, involving the United Nations and other organizations” and that the “fate of these Eritrean citizens cannot be resolved only through our bilateral relationship (with Libya).”
Click here for the Commissioner’s letter to the Italian Foreign Minister.
Click here for the Commissioner’s letter to the Italian Interior Minister.
Click here for article.
Click here (IT) for Italian Ministers’ Reply to Il Foglio.