Africa

France cancels offer of boats to Libya under pressure from NGOs

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Rights groups hailed on Monday a French decision to drop plans to offer six boats to Libyas coast guard.

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French officials confirmed they had cancelled the delivery after eight NGOs filed a lawsuit against the move, criticising Libyas treatment of migrants.

Lola Schulmann of Amnesty France—one of the NGOs involved in the case—told AFP she hoped the decision would mark “a turning point in relations between France and Libya in terms of migration policy”.

Defence Minister Florence Parly had announced in February that France would provide semi-rigid inflatable Sillinger crafts to help Libyas unity government consolidate its control of the war-torn country.

But rights groups assailed the plan, accusing Libyan officials of routinely picking up migrants in the Mediterranean and bringing them back to overcrowded detention centres, where many have been victims of abuse and forced labour.

“This transfer was initially planned to help Libya, but the ministry has decided not to deliver the vessels to this state,” the army ministry wrote on November 26 to the administrative appeals court in Paris.

“The situation in Libya does not permit the offer of these boats,” a ministry source who requested anonymity confirmed to AFP.

The rights groups, which also included Doctors Without Borders, praised the cancellation of aRead More – Source

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