UN Mission Accuses EU of Aiding Crimes Against Humanity in Libya


United Nations investigators say there is evidence that crimes against humanity have been committed against Libyans and migrants stuck in Libya, including women being forced into sexual slavery. The investigators commissioned by the UN Human Rights Council also faulted the European Union for sending support to Libyan forces that they say contributed to crimes against migrants and Libyans.

Their findings come in an extensive new report, based on interviews with hundreds of people, including migrants and witnesses, that wraps up a fact-finding mission created nearly three years ago to probe rights violations and abuses in the North African country. The investigators said they collected at least 2,800 items of information documenting numerous cases of arbitrary detention, murder, torture, rape, enslavement, sexual slavery, extrajudicial killings, and enforced disappearances that confirmed their widespread practice in Libya.

Libya has in recent years emerged as the dominant transit point for refugees and migrants from Africa and the Middle East who are seeking to reach Europe. Human rights groups and activists have long decried the horrible conditions these people are facing. “The support given by the EU to the Libyan coastguard in terms of pull-backs, pushbacks, [and] interceptions led to violations of certain human rights,” said investigator Chaloka Beyani. “You can’t push back people to areas that are unsafe, and the Libyan waters are unsafe for the embarkation of migrants.”

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