The Solidarity Reception Network, Abolish Frontex, Permanent Assembly “Right to Migrate-Right to Stay” and Solidarity with Refugees in Libya call for a demonstration on October 15, 2022 at 1:00 p.m., in front of the Italian Embassy, “to ask the Italian government to put an end to the illegal and shameful Memorandum signed between Italy and Libya in 2017”reads a note. The protest action will take place in front of the Italian Embassy at 1:00 p.m., in the gardens of Juan Bravo street at the intersection with Lagasca street.

“Madrid joins many other European cities – reads the note – taking to the streets to demand the Italian government put an end to this illegal and shameful Memorandum. The action-complaint will take place in front of the Italian Embassy. The Memorandum, always read in the note of the Solidarity Network for Reception, violates international laws and human rights. In 2012, Italy was condemned by the European Court of Human Rights for sending back people fleeing from Libya..

To circumvent this condemnation, the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed in 2017. Since then, it has been widely questioned and denounced by Amnesty International, other human rights NGOs, UNHCR, the United Nations (UN) and the European Union itself. “Refugees in Libya”, a group of self-organized asylum seekers trapped in Libya, have been protesting against the inhumane conditions established by the MoU in front of the UNHCR office in Tripoli, since October 2021, despite the brutal crackdown on the one they face. To date, more than 300 of the comrades detained in the violent eviction of the protest camp in January 2022 remain in detention.

The press release of the Red Solidaria de Acogida

The MoU regulates cooperation between Italy and Libya on security and irregular migration. It is mainly funded by the EU and executed by the European border agency Frontex. Some of that money goes to the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), which provide a humanitarian front instead of doing their duty to protect refugee women in Libya.

The Memorandum establishes a radical externalization, installing a regime of death at the borders and in the Libyan concentration camps. The numerous reports highlighting the atrocities committed in Libya, financed by these Italian deals, are widely known. Since 2017, 50,000 migrants have been returned to these camps, after being intercepted and captured by the so-called Coast Guard. Libya is not a ‘safe place’, yet thousands of people are returned there, going through a hellish cycle: arbitrarily detained, end up in the hands of traffickers, try to flee to safety, are again intercepted and returned to detention centers. This cycle includes torture, rape, slavery, starvation, and death.

– The Italian government is training the Libyan security forces, directly in collusion with militias and human traffickers, with whom they do more lucrative businesses than drug trafficking. This collusion has been repeatedly denounced by the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances and others.

– Libya has never ratified the 1951 Geneva Conventions on the Status of Refugees and does not even fully recognize UNHCR. Even people registered by UNHCR as seeking protection are arbitrarily arrested and detained in concentration camps. The UN and the International Criminal Court (ICC) have repeatedly condemned the crimes against humanity committed in these places.

On November 2, 2022, the Memorandum will be automatically renewed for another 3 years, unless canceled by the Italian or Libyan government. The continuation of this agreement will consolidate the inhumane conditions in Libya for migrants and refugees.

The people of Italy, Europe and beyond must stand in solidarity with refugee women in Libya and use their power to force Italy and the EU to cancel this inhumane deal. Members of the Italian Parliament must defend the fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution and challenge the Memorandum.

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