International organizations and NGOs have warned against the European Union’s new plan to curb mass migration from Libya. UNICEF’s deputy director Justin Forsyth said that the decisions taken by EU leaders at a special summit in Malta on Friday are literally a matter of life and death for thousands of children.
They further said that the move goes against human rights and is likely to provoke a new humanitarian catastrophe.
Faced with a surge in migrants this spring, the 28 leaders backed steps including helping the Libyan coastguard to stop boats to Italy and setting up temporary camps in the north African state.
The leaders signed off on a new strategy to “break the business model” of traffickers who helped 181,000 mainly African economic migrants enter the EU via Libya and Italy last year.
The plan involves funding and training the Libyan coastguard to make it better able to intercept migrant boats before they reach international waters, and helping neighbouring countries to close routes into Libya.