Refugees in Libya started their protests in October 2021 – yet the conditions for refugees in Libya remain the same. They are exposed to structural violence, arbitrary detention in inhumane conditions, torture, enslavement and murder. People are still drowning in the Mediterranean daily or being pulled back by both the so-called Libyan coast guard (LYCG) and the newly established Stability Support Apparatus (SSA). The European Union (EU) is contributing to these atrocities daily by funding and training the so-called LYCG and supporting structures, which are holding the current system in place.

Still, the echo of the protest of Refugees in Libya is ignored in the European public discourse.

Since 2017, when the Italy-Libya Memorandum of Understanding was signed, enough evidence, reports, statements have revealed the strong links between the so-called LYCG, Libyan migration authorities (DCIM), militias and smugglers. Enough reports denounced the crimes committed against refugees and migrants in Libya. The United Nations (UN) and International Criminal Court (ICC) are even denouncing crimes against humanity committed in the detention centers, which are sustained by the Memorandum.

On November 2, 2022 the Italy-Libya Memorandum is to be renewed – it is the backdoor of the cooperation of the EU with the militia-led Libyan coast guard, the hellish detention system, and the silent tragedies of thousands of invisible deaths in the Sahara at the southern border.

❌ STOP the Italy-Libya Memorandum!

In Solidarity with Refugees in Libya, we want to take to the streets all over Europe to stop this memorandum, on Saturday October 15, in front of the Italian embassies of our cities.

All actors involved in this Memorandum have to put an end to this criminal agreement:

  • Italy has to cancel the renewal of the Memorandum.
  • The EU must stop financing activities in line with the Memorandum with hundreds of millions of Euros.
  • Frontex, who’s cooperating with the so-called LYCG in line with the Memorandum, has to be abolished.
  • The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) must immediately start fulfilling their duty to protect refugees in Libya and stop providing a front for the EU and Italy to claim their actions are motivated by humanitarian aims.

By sustaining the Italy-Libya Memorandum, Italy, the EU, the so-called LYCG, Frontex, UNHCR and IOM become accomplices of slavery, trafficking of human beings and crimes against humanity.

  • Stop the Italy-Libya Memorandum!
  • Stop pullback of refugees and migrants to Libya, stop cooperation with so-called LYCG!
  • Free all refugees and migrants, close the detention centers!
  • Evacuation to safe countries for all refugees and migrants in Libya!


👉 To join/organize actions, please contact: solidaritywithrefugeesinlibya[at]riseup.net

Who we are: Solidarity with Refugees in Libya and Abolish Frontex – with the Permanent Assembly “Right to migrate, right to stay”



Official reports, statements of UN and EU authorities, and human rights associations about migrants’ situation in Libya:

Members ot the European Parliament (MEPS) demanding to stop cooperation with and funding of the Libyan coast guard, (27-04-2020) https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/press-room/20200427IPR77915/stop-cooperation-with-and-funding-to-the-libyan-coastguard-meps-ask

European Commission stating that Libya does not currently meet the conditions to be considered «a place of safety» for disembarkation (2020). https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/E-9-2020-003556-ASW_EN.pdf

Council of Europe asking Italy to cancel Memorandum (2020) https://rm.coe.int/letter-to-mr-luigi-di-maio-minister-of-foreign-affairs-and-internation/16809c8262

UNHCR (2021) denounced the lethal disregard for desperate peoples, focusing on responsibility of the Libyan authorities, European Union (EU) Member States and institutions, and other actors that have joined forces to create an environment where the dignity and human rights of refugees and migrants are at risk  https://www.ohchr.org/sites/default/files/Documents/Issues/Migration/OHCHR-thematic-report-SAR-protection-at-sea.pdf

UNHCR does not consider Libya a so-called “safe third country” for the purpose of disembarkation following rescue at sea. (2020)   https://www.refworld.org/pdfid/5f1edee24.pdf

IOM and UNHCR condemn the return of migrants and refugees to Libya (2021)  https://www.unhcr.org/news/press/2021/6/60ca1d414/iom-unhcr-condemn-return-migrants-refugees-libya.html

UN probe finds that War crimes and crimes against humanity have likely been committed in Libya (2021)  https://news.un.org/en/story/2021/10/1102052, https://unsmil.unmissions.org/accountability-pivotal-prosecute-those-responsible-war-crimes-and-crimes-against-humanity-libya, « the mission also shows that little has been done by Libyan authorities to reform their practices and address these crimes, or by their international partners, including Italy and Malta who have cooperation agreements with Libya in the field of migration control »

Pope Francis (2021) calls for a dignified reception of migrants and an end to repatriations in Libya. https://www.tellerreport.com/news/2021-10-24-pope-francis-calls-for-solutions-to-libya-s-migrant-crisis.HkduJHxQLY.html https://middle-east-online.com/en/pope-francis-denounces-eu-libya-sordid-migration-deals

Amnesty International Libya (2020): Renewal of migration deal confirms Italy’s complicity in torture of migrants and refugees https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2020/01/libya-renewal-of-migration-deal-confirms-italys-complicity-in-torture-of-migrants-and-refugees/  https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2022/01/libya-eu-conditions-remain-hellish-as-eu-marks-5-years-of-cooperation-agreements/

Human Rights Watch (2019)​​​​​​​ «EU policies contibute to abuses of migrants in Libya»   https://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/report_pdf/eu0119_web2.pdf

-Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies and Libyan Platform Coalition (2021) Migrants, refugees and asylum-seekers continue to be the subject of mass human rights and humanitarian law violations, trapped in an inhumane system of unlawful detention, exploitation and abuse supported by Libyan authorities and enabled by European externalisation policies seeking to prevent human beings from reaching European shores at any cost. https://cihrs.org/peace-process-and-legitimacy-of-elections-threatened-by-lack-of-accountability-and-rule-of-law/?lang=en#pdf

Sally Hayden (2022), My Fourth TIme, We Drowned “This book follows the shocking experiences of refugees seeking sanctuary in Europe, but also surveys the bigger pictures: the negligence of NGOs and corruption within the United Nations; the economics of the twenty-first-century slave trade; the EU’s bankrolling of Libyan militias; the trials of people smugglers,…”

CEPS (Center for European Policies Studies) (2019) stated that  « current political controversies surrounding search and rescue (SAR)  and disembarkation in the Mediterranean unfold in a policy context characterised by a ‘contained mobility’ paradigm that has materialised in the increasing penalisation of humanitarian SAR non-governmental organizations (NGOs), a strategic and gradual operational disengagement from SAR activities by the EU and its member states, and the delegation of containment tasks to the Libyan coast guard (so-called ‘pullbacks’), a development that has been indirectly supported by EU institutions. » https://www.ceps.eu/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/LSE2019-10_ReSoma_Sailing-Away-from-Responsibility.pdf

LIBE Commitee (European Parliament -2021) denounced that as for the reliability of the Libyan authorities receiving EU funds, international observers have reported that government officials, including so-called Libyan Coast Guard (LYCG) officials, immigration officers, security and defence personnel, members of armed groups formally integrated within State institutions, and officials from the Ministry of Interior and its Department to Combat Illegal Migration (DCIM), are complicit in human trafficking and smuggling operations.  (…) The European Parliament should call on the European Commission and the MS to draw a plan that enables safe, quick and predictable disembarkation of SAR boats in line with international standards, thus discontinuing cooperation with the LYCG and the facilitation of ‘pullbacks’ that lead to the delivery of survivors to unsafe ports in Libya and elsewhere. The European Parliament should call for the urgent deployment of EU/Member state (MS) SAR capacities in the Mediterranean. In parallel, it should request the European Commission, Frontex, EUNAVFORMED and the MS to decriminalise and facilitate cooperation between merchant ships and civil society rescuers The work and status of SAR NGOs as human rights defenders, whose activity is protected under international law, should be formally and unambiguously recognised in all EU legal and policy instruments affecting their position The Trapani Tribunal has declared the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) unconstitutional and incompatible with human rights, refugee law and maritime law obligations, explicitly rejecting the idea that Libya may be considered a ‘place of safety’ for disembarkation.  The related practice of refoulement by proxy (performed by either commercial vessels or LYCG assets at the behest of the authorities of the country of intended destination) has been denounced in a string of international cases pending at the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), the UN Human Rights Committee, and the UN Committee Against Torture, and it forms the basis of a request for an ICC investigation https://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/STUD/2021/694413/IPOL_STU(2021)694413_EN.pdf

170 organisations and individuals calls on the Italian government to “immediately revoke the Memorandum of Understanding” signed with Libya, due to its facilitation of “models of exploitation and enslavement within which violence that constitutes crimes against humanity is systematically perpetrated.” https://www.statewatch.org/news/2022/february/appeal-to-the-italian-government-to-unhcr-and-iom-for-the-immediate-withdrawal-of-the-italy-libya-memorandum/

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