Madrid, 30 November 2017 – Respect and protection of human rights are a negligible part of the EU’s training to the Libyan Coast Guard, as revealed by the training materials the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) disclosed in response to an access to documents request. From a total of 20 documents – including a video – released, only 0,5% of the content is dedicated to ensuring the protection of human rights.
Instead, the presentations and handouts mainly address possible indications of human trafficking, interrogation, and documentation techniques, as well as the handling of weather apps.
This comes in spite of the EU institutions’ reiterated claim that these training activities would have a “substantial focus on human rights and international law” and would “enhance protection of and respect for human rights.”
Our main priority is and remains to save lives and ensure the human and dignified treatment of all migrants, regardless of their status. #migrationEU #Libya #Turkey pic.twitter.com/XnvpzUiwra
— DimitrisAvramopoulos (@Avramopoulos) November 15, 2017
Yet what the documents show is that human rights protection takes up a single PowerPoint slide of all of the released training material.
“The disclosure of these documents proves just how crucial transparency is when it comes to ensuring that the EU is integrating human rights into its migration and asylum policies,” stated Luisa Izuzquiza, Communications Officer at Access Info Europe.
“It is not enough that the EU promises that human rights are a priority: the public has the right to know if the EU is living up to this commitment and to be able to hold decision makers to account if it is not being met,” she added.
The training of Libyan coast guards, which became in 2017 an important part of the European Agenda on Migration, has been repeatedly condemned not only by human rights NGOs, but also by bodies such as the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights.
All training material released by Frontex in response to the access to documents request, and which has been shared with other human rights NGOs, can be found here and here.
For more information, please contact:
Luisa Izuzquiza, Communications Officer | Access Info Europe
Send an e-mail or call +34 609 707 264
Arne Semsrott from the Open Knowledge Foundation Germany contributed to the analysis of the documents.
Photo: Ejército del Aire Ministerio de Defensa España via Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)