Complaint to EU auditors: review EU migration cooperation with Libya

Publié: 27th avril 2020


EU policies and action have facilitated the containment of tens of thousands of women, men and children in Libya, a country where they have been exposed to appalling abuse, 13 legal, human-rights and anti-poverty organisations, including Oxfam, said today in a joint statement.

The organisations support a complaint submitted today to the European Court of Auditors (ECA), requesting the body to launch an audit into the EU’s cooperation with Libya. Such an audit would seek to determine whether the EU has breached its financial regulations, as well as its human rights obligations, in its support for Libyan border management.

The complaint argues that the European Commission provides financial support for projects that result in the return of people to Libya, where they face abuse, breaching its obligations not to contribute to human rights violations. The auditors should accordingly initiate a special review of the 'Integrated Border Management programme' (IBM) run through the EU Trust Fund for Africa that supports Libyan authorities, and recommend that the EU Commission suspend the programme pending necessary revisions as required in EU law.

The complaint is based on an opinion provided by EU budget and development law experts Prof. Dr. Phillip Dann and Dr. Michael Riegner of Humboldt University and Ms. Lena Zagst of Hamburg University.

In the joint statement, the organisations are calling on the European Union to stop any actions that contribute to trapping people in Libya where migrants and others are in constant, grave danger. EU institutions should review and reform the bloc’s policies of cooperation with Libya on migration and border management and control.

Notes aux rédactions

  • Spokespeople are available for interviews and background information.
  • Read the full statement and the complaint to the European Court of Auditors.
  • One year after the resumption of the armed conflict in Tripoli, the humanitarian situation in Libya continues to deteriorate due to further military escalation and the spreading of the coronavirus.
  • The complaint to the European Court of Auditors has been submitted by Global Legal Action Network (GLAN), Association for Juridical Studies on Immigration (ASGI) and  Italian Recreational and Cultural Association (ARCI).
  • The joint statement has been signed by Amnesty International, Italian Recreational and Cultural Association (ARCI), Association for Juridical Studies on Immigration (ASGI), Avocats Sans Frontières (ASF), Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS), Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network (EuroMed Rights), the Global Legal Action Network (GLAN), Human Rights Watch (HRW), International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), Lawyers for Justice in Libya (LFJL), Oxfam International, Migreurop, and Saferworld.
  • Earlier Oxfam research on the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa (EUTF) revealed how EU development aid is increasingly being spent to close borders, stifle migration and push for returns of migrants to Africa.


Florian Oel | Brussels | | office +32 2 234 11 15 | mobile +32 473 56 22 60

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