Human Rights Watch (HRW) said Wednesday Libyan authorities should immediately allow United Nations and nongovernmental personnel to visit the illegal immigrants removed from the cargo ship "Nivin," find alternatives to their detention, and investigate the possible use of unlawful force.
"Libyan security forces forcibly removed 79 migrants and asylum seekers on November 20, 2018 from the Panama-flagged cargo ship Nivin in the port of Misrata in Libya, after they refused to leave the ship for 10 days," Human Rights Watch said today.
HRW said that Libyan security forces reportedly used force and tear gas, adding that an unknown number of migrants were taken to hospital, and others were taken to the Al-Karareem detention center in Misrata.
“This is the worst possible conclusion to the desperate plea of the people on board the Nivin to avoid inhuman detention in Libya,” said the acting deputy Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch, Judith Sunderland.
She added that the issue of the immigrants is the result of efforts by Italy and the European Union to obstruct rescue operations by nongovernmental organizations and empower the Libyan Coast Guard even when Europe knows that Libya is not a safe place.
The Misrata joint force's personnel and the central coastguard stormed into the cargo ship Nivin on Tuesday and forced 80 immigrants, who have been rejecting to disembark in Libya, off it.
A source from the joint force told The Libya Observer that the operation was permitted by the Public Prosecutor and it was done in the presence of representatives of the countries where the migrants come from.