A recently leaked report from the EU exposes the Union's admission that it does not have the capacity to monitor Libya's coastguard as it intercepts migrant and refugee smuggling ships en-route to Europe. The leak notes the EU's awareness that migrant detention has become a "profitable business model" for the Libyan government.
The confidential report details what awaits those intercepted by the Libyan coastguard and returned to Libya, as they are placed in official or unofficial detention camps. The report further details a range human rights violations, abuses and violence in a 13 page report. Yet, the report also lauds the "progress achieved" in the cooperation with Libya that has reduced the amount of refugees reaching Europe. The number of migrants from Libya arriving in Italy dropped from over 107,000 in 2017 to around 13,000 in 2018 and just over 1000 as of August 2019, with the Libyan coastguard saying it intercepted over 5000 individuals since the beginning of 2019 and until August.
The cooperation agreement between the EU and Libya, in which Italy is a central party, was recently renewed with an additional 5 million Euro in funding. The EU and Italy provide the Libyan coast guard with funding, training and ships in order to intercept migrant ships before they reach Europe.
However, the EU paper admits that "conditions for migrants in Libya have deteriorated severely recently due to security concerns related to the conflict and developments in the smuggling and trafficking dynamics and economy, in addition to the worsening situation in the overcrowded detention facilities."
The document also includes the following information:
Not all in Europe are happy with this outcome. Sophie in't Veld, a Dutch MEP on the committee, reflected that although fewer people are drowning in the sea, and fewer migrants are reaching Europe, they are instead dying in the desert or being sold as slaves or tortured or raped in detention camps... "meanwhile, people smugglers are thriving. No one in their right mind can call this a success. This policy is morally and financially bankrupt".