Friday, March 10, 2017

Another refugee crisis

British-funded refugee camps in Libya are implementing the indiscriminate and indefinite detention of asylum seekers, a report by the UK’s Independent Commission for Aid Impact revealed.  "...we are concerned that the programme delivers migrants back to a system that leads to indiscriminate and indefinite detention and denies refugees their right to asylum,” the report says. It concludes there is a risk that providing financial or material support – even neutral humanitarian support – to detention centres breaches the “do no harm” principle in aid, and so puts asylum seekers at risk.

UK aid to Libya risks may well be causing unintended harm to migrants and could prevent them from reaching a place of safety. It also criticises ministers for apparently decided on the funding plan without studying the human rights implications in a country struggling to contain its long-running civil war.

The UK is spending roughly £10m this year in Libya to stem the flow of migrants from north Africa to Europe, including cash for the Libyan coastguard and to improve the appalling conditions in the camps where many people are now ending up.

“We have not seen evidence that the responsible departments and implementing partners have analysed the economic and political conditions surrounding Libya’s system of detention centres in sufficient detail,” it says. “This is important because there are credible reports that some Libyan state and local officials are involved in people smuggling and trafficking, and in extortion of migrants in detention.”

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