Revelations that a European Union-funded group known as the Libyan Coast Guard (LCG) has placed at least 200 migrants in a detention centre bombed in July, killing roughly 50 people have raised concerns over EU efforts to stifle immigration.
The LCG has received roughly 91m euros from the European Commission since 2017 to stem migration, all while NGOs that engage in search and rescue operations have come under increasing pressure from EU authorities, especially in Italy and Spain.
The LCG is trained by European authorities, which also claim to monitor their efficacy. But rights groups have long warned the LCG isn’t operating with migrant safety as a priority.
On July 24 the LCG placed 38 intercepted migrants in the Tarjoua detention centre, which was bombed on July 3, killing 58 people. But Doctors Without Borders (MSF) confirmed to Spanish media that roughly 200 were placed there.
Haidi Sadik, the cultural mediator for Sea-Watch a migrant rescue NGO that helps save the lives of people in the Mediterranean, said in an interview that the LCG has previously asked Sea-Watch to place rescued migrants in danger.
Regulations under maritime and international law require that ships who see anyone in danger in the sea be rescued people and taken to a port of safety.
The LCG has even asked a Sea-Watch vessel to take rescued migrants to Tripoli, Libya, in June, calling it a “port of safety”, according to emails the NGO received and Sea-Watch published on social media.
The cultural mediator stressed that Tripoli is not a port of safety for those escaping wars, considering the internal conflict occurring there which some have called a “bloodbath”.