Legal submission argues migrants, refugees and asylum seekers in Libya face crimes against humanity
Based on research developed over the course of several years and building on our work to seek accountability and provide justice to victims for the widely documented human rights violations committed against migrants, refugees and asylum seekers in Libya, LFJL recently filed a Communication to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in collaboration with the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR), the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and survivors. The ICC Communication, filed on 23 November 2021, argues that these atrocities, which include enslavement, murder, torture and rape, amount to crimes against humanity under the Rome Statute. The ICC Communication, which details information about 19 alleged Libyan perpetrators ranging from prison guards to well-known militia chiefs, and four hubs for human trafficking and other serious crimes in Libya, urgently demands the ICC to open an investigation into these crimes as a step towards ensuring accountability and justice for the victims, and to deter further crimes.
LFJL, together with ECCHR and FIDH also published a complementary joint public report, NO WAY OUT: Migrants and Refugees Trapped in Libya Face Crimes Against Humanity. The report includes first-hand accounts of survivors detailing the systematic and widespread abuse of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers in Libya and offers an analysis of the findings on crimes against humanity as presented in the ICC Communication. To better depict the cruel reality of many migrants, refugees and asylum seekers in Libya and the treacherous journeys that they are forced to take in search of safety, the report included an interactive Story Map which tells the story of one of the survivors with whom we worked.
The report further examines the EU policies designed to prevent migrants, refugees and asylum seekers from reaching Europe through Libya. The report considers that European policies and actions that indiscriminately return migrants, refugees and asylum seekers to Libya and trap them there are unlawful and raise the question of European responsibility in the commission of crimes that may amount to crimes against humanity.
Given the findings of our ICC Communication and public report, our latest advocacy efforts, including bilateral meetings with policy makers and other relevant stakeholders, have centred around demanding that the Libyan authorities, the EU and European states comply with their international obligations and ensure migrants, refugees and asylum seekers have access to protection, safety and justice. LFJL has also aimed to raise awareness of the situation and we have been vocal about our concerns and demands through various media outlets, including a guest appearance by Senior Programmes Officer, Elise Flecher on the Civil Fleet Podcast – to be released early this year.
LFJL will continue calling for the removal of harmful Libyan and European policies in order to protect the rights, safety and lives of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers that are or have been in Libya. We will also be prioritising our direct work with survivors, to whom we provide legal and other forms of support and access to justice.
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