The EU says plans to return migrants rescued at sea to detention centers in North Africa won’t lead to inhumane conditions. Rights groups fear that refugees won’t be treated with dignity, citing migrant camps in Libya.
The European Commission is considering a plan for a “disembarkation scheme” that would see migrants picked up in the Mediterranean taken to sites in northern Africa to have their asylum requests considered.
EU Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos on Thursday said those leaving North Africa’s shores for Italy and Spain in unseaworthy boats could be returned to from where they set off, for rapid processing.
He said although there was, as yet, no agreement from North African countries to the proposal, Brussels was keen to intensify cooperation in the region, in particular with Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Niger and Morocco.
The scheme could even be adopted in non-EU countries in Europe like Albania, he said.
The EU, the United Nations and the International Office for Migration have already been working with Libya to close its ‘inhumane’ migrant camps, and help the detainees return to their home countries.
No harsh conditions
Responding to concerns that migrants might be kept in terrible conditions, without the same asylum rights as they would have in Europe, Avramopoulos replied: “I want to be very clear on that. I’m against a Guantanamo Bay for migrants.”
First published: June 21, 2018