EU ‘funded’ torture, sex slavery in Libya, UN probe finds

EU funding is facilitating the commission of abuses against migrants in Libya, who are being systematically tortured and forced into sexual slavery, a United Nations investigation has found.

The probe voiced alarm at the deteriorating human rights situation in the conflict-torn North African country, warning that the European Union was supporting some of the organisations perpetrating abuses against migrants.

“We’re not saying that the EU and its member states have committed these crimes,” investigator Chaloka Beyani told reporters on Monday, adding though that “the support given has aided and abetted the commission of the crimes.”

In its final report, the UN Independent Fact-Finding Miss­ion on Libya concluded that there were “grounds to believe a wide array of war crimes and crimes against humanity have been committed by state security forces and armed militia groups.”

“Migr­ants, in particular, have been targeted and there is overwhelming evidence that they have been systematically tortured” in detention centres, it said.

The mission’s chairman Mohamed Auajjar said investigators found crimes against humanity had been committed against migrants in detention centres under the control of Libya’s Directorate for Combating Illegal Migration (DCMI) and the country’s coast guard.

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“These entities receive technical, logistic and monetary support from the European Union and its member states” for the interception and return of migrants, the former Moroccan justice minister said.

The group’s report said there were reasonable grounds to believe that sexual slavery, a crime against humanity, was being committed against migrants.

Mission member Tracy Robinson said they also uncovered slavery in general.

“We have found instances of enslavement of persons who have been traded to outside entities to perform various services, but also sexual slavery of women in and around detention centres,” she said.

The investigators voiced concern about the deprivation of liberty of Libyans and migrants throughout the country, in what they said could also amount to crimes against humanity.

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