Following the meeting of the Central Mediterranean Contact Group on Monday, Amnesty Switzerland has called on the group to make it easier for migrants to be resettled in European countries by increasing refugee quotas, allowing family reunions beyond the scope of a nuclear family, and offering humanitarian visas to migrants stranded in Libyan detention centres.
The Amnesty branch emphasized the inhumane conditions migrants are faced with in Libya; adding that the CMCG cannot claim to want to protect migrants in Libya while simultaneously denying them safe passage to Europe.
Previously, Swiss Justice Minister Simonetta Sommaruga called for an EU rescue operation for detained migrants, with an increased focus on the most vulnerable segments, such as women and children. She also advocated for the creation of migrant reception centres in African countries. However, Amnesty Switzerland warned that such initiatives can shift responsibility for migrants onto African countries instead of creating proper channels for migrants.
Rather than detaining migrants, the focus should be on decriminalizing their presence. However, this process is easier discussed than implemented as migration is a process wherein many countries have vested interests, and thus, the question of responsibility is often deflected.
In fact, recently Italy stressed that they have not deported illegal immigrants back to Libya; adding that migrants were repatriated by the Libyan coast guards. Similarly, German rescue organization “Sea Watch” reported that the Libyan Coast Guards were using ‘violence and causing the sinking of migrants off of Libyan water’. However, Mario Morcone, the adviser to the Italian Minister of the Interior and former head of the Ministry of Immigration stated that they do not believe the accounts of the NGO nor the Libyan Coast Guards; highlighting the difficulty in establishing responsibility.