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Irish Government Must Withdraw Naval Support from Libyan Coastguard - Senator Paul Gavan

8 March, 2019 - by Paul Gavan

Sinn Féin Senator Paul Gavan has called on the Irish Government to withdraw all financial, logistical and training support from the Irish Navy for the Libyan Coastguard because of the latters complicity with severe human rights abuse of migrants.

Senator Gavan was speaking this week during a Seanad Commencement Matter on the topic of the plight of the 6,000 refugees in detention centres on the Libyan coast. In February 2017 Italy and Libya signed a deal to stem the flow of migrants from north Africa to Italy.

"The EU including Ireland, pays large sums to Libya to take care of the problems so that we do not have to see these people or worry about them. In turn, they are imprisoned, sold, tortured, raped, mutilated and killed.

“Irish Journalist Sally Hayden has exposed the horrors of detention in Libya. Migrants are imprisoned in conditions where they go days without food and drink toilet water to survive.

"Some have stopped speaking - they have forgotten their families. It is estimated that 640 children are suffering in these conditions.

"In one centre, Triq al Sikka, infected detainees are locked with others in a dark room and have been repeatedly left without tuberculosis medication, in one case for more than a month.

“Last week Channel 4 News led with a story of horrific torture meted out to Eritrean migrants who had been sold to smugglers by the Libyan coastguard.

"The film showed Eritreans being tortured, having hot molten plastic applied to their backs and having concrete blocks placed on their backs while they lay in chains on the floor, screaming in pain. Criminals have taken these men and women in the hope to extort large sums from their families.

“Sinn Fein warned of the dangers of Irish navy becoming involved in PESCO and we are now complicit by helping to fund, and provide logistical and training support to those carrying out these disgusting abuses of human rights.

"The EU is choosing to fund death camps in Libya rather than deal with issue of migrants seeking sanctuary in Europe.

“ The Irish Government must immediately call for an end to funding for the totally discredited Libyan coastguard and and demand EU action to ensure the evacuation and placement of the 6,000 migrants suffering  these horrific conditions"

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