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Libya rights chief denounces migrant deal with Italy

Migrants at a detention centre in Libya   -  
Copyright © africanews
MAHMUD TURKIA/AFP or licensors


The head of Libya's human rights commission on Wednesday said he rejected the idea of renewing a migration deal between the country and Italy.

Amnesty International criticized Italy for plans to extend the agreement for another three years without any changes to its text.

In a report issued earlier this week, Amnesty said the Italian government was set to approve the continuance of the agreement on Wednesday.

Both parties reached an agreement in 2017, signing a memo of understanding to step up cooperation and to fight migrant trafficking from Libyan shores.

The deal was renewed for a further three years, starting from February 2, 2020, according to Ahmed Hamza, Chairman of the Libyan National Commission for Human Rights.

Hamza said that his organisation has repeatedly called for authorities to "reconsider" the agreement.

"It's important to reconsider this agreement due to the violations and abuses that it entailed in terms of guarantees of protecting the rights of migrants and asylum seekers," he said.

Hamza said he felt the agreement "fails to take into account the exceptional and security conditions" that migrants were going through in Libya.

He also criticized European Union countries which he said were "evading their legal, moral and humanitarian responsibilities" in dealing with migrants destined for Europe.

On Wednesday the European Union said it hoped to deliver more vessels to the Libyan coast guard before the summer when irregular sea crossings are expected to increase.

The announcement comes a week after the Associated Press revealed that the European Union was adamant in continuing training and supporting the Libyan coast guard despite acknowledging human rights violations and the "excessive use of force" in a confidentiamilitary report.

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