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UN report on Libya: serious abuses against migrants, "concerns" over vetting of coastguard members trained by EU
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"The Final Report of the Panel of Experts on Libya... discusses links between armed groups, criminal groups, and different coast guard factions, including involvement by coast guard factions in migrant smuggling and coast guard factions shooting at or sinking migrant boats operated by competitors. The report makes clear that after interception at sea, migrants are “often beaten, robbed and taken to detention centres or private houses and farms where they are subjected to forced labour, rape and other sexual violence.”

The report questions whether any of the coast guard factions are under the control of the Government of National Accord and questions the vetting of the coastguard trainees who are receiving training from EUNAVFOR MED. This information is further reason for the EU and EUNAVFOR MED to immediately suspend all collaboration with the Libyan coast guards and navy."

See: UN Report Documents Extensive and Grave Human Rights Violations by Libyan Coast Guard Against Migrants (Migrants at Sea, link) including key excerpts from the report.

The EU has for some time been training Libyan coast guard officials. See: EU navies find training Libyan coast guard no easy task (Defense News, link):

"A European naval official linked to the coast guard training admitted that the Libyan coastline was full of semiofficial coast guard outfits, some linked to militias.

But he insisted there was no danger of EU funding ending up in their hands.

“The difference is that we have been working through the Libyan Navy, which is answerable to Serraj, and all our recruits are from the Navy,” he said. “When you see Libyans in uniform on a grey boat you shouldn’t assume that’s the Navy.""

However, according to the UN report (emphasis added):

"150. EUNAVFOR MED delivered an initial training package, beginning in October 2016, reportedly for 78 Libyans on board two EUNAVFOR MED vessels... It was stated in the same document that training was being delivered to both the Libyan coastguard and the Libyan navy. A subsequent statement indicated that 89 individuals had received training in the first training package.

151. A second package of training was started on 30 January 2017 for 20 Libyan coastguard and navy trainees. The statement released by the European Union providing these details again stated that only 78 individuals had been trained in the first package. It also states that the original memorandum of understanding had been signed with the "Libyan navy coastguard" rather than with the navy and the coastguard as separate entities, as the European Union refers to them elsewhere in the same statement and in its other public announcements. In the eighteenth preambular paragraph of resolution 2312 (2016), the Council took note of the decision of the Council of the European Union to expand the EUNAVFOR MED mandate to the training of the Libyan coastguard and navy in law enforcement at sea. However, the anticipated briefing by EUNAVFOR MED to the Committee regarding their activities, as highlighted in the Chair's report of 6 December 2016 (see S/PV.7827), had not taken place.

152. Neither the coastguard nor the navy has been notified to the Committee as part of the security forces under the control of the Government of National Accord, and the issue of control is further highlighted by multiple reports of criminal activities involving the coastguard (see para. 104)"

Read the final UN report: Final report of the Panel of Experts on Libya established pursuant to resolution 1973 (2011) (10 MB, pdf):

"The Panel's monitoring of the political transition in Libya has focused on the incomplete implementation of the Libyan Political Agreement in the absence of its endorsement by the House of Representatives. This has undermined the legitimacy of the Government of National Accord, nominated by the Presidency Council. The rival Prime Ministers, Abdallah al-Thinni and Khalifa al-Ghweil, continue to challenge the leadership of the country by the Chair of the Presidency Council, Fayez al-Serraj. The Presidency Council has also had great difficulty in implementing social and economic policies, further strengthening the armed and unarmed opposition to its authority.


Armed groups, some of which have received a mandate or at least recognition from the House of Representatives or the Presidency Council, have not been subject to any meaningful judicial control. This has further increased their involvement in violations of human rights, including kidnappings, arbitrary detentions and summary executions. Cases investigated by the Panel include abuses against Libyan residents of Tripoli and Benghazi, prisoners of war and migrants.


Armed groups and criminal networks continue to exploit different sources of financing, such as the smuggling of migrants and fuel. The Panel has identified networks along the western coastline, which are active in both."

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