^(Author: Libyan Gazette Editorial Staff)
EU Council extends its mission in Libya to August 2017 and Approves Budget.
The European Union announced on Thursday that it will extend its European Union Border Assistance Mission (EUBAM) by one year and allocated $19 million.
“On 4 August 2016, the Council extended the mandate of the planning mission EUBAM Libya until 21 August 2017. It also approved a budget of €17 million for the period from 22 August 2016 to 21 August 2017. As part of the EU’s comprehensive approach to support the transition to a democratic, stable and prosperous Libya, EUBAM Libya is mandated to plan for a possible future EU mission providing advice and capacity-building in the area of criminal justice, migration, border security and counter-terrorism,” the statement reads.
All future missions will be focused on sharing information and training Libyan law enforcement officers to prevent desperate refugees from fleeing Africa to Europe.
“Any future civilian mission in Libya would seek in particular to address law enforcement aspects of irregular migration, smuggling of migrants and trafficking of human beings while promoting longer term efforts on security sector reform, including governance,” said the EU statement.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) warns that such initiatives by the EU puts tens of thousands of refugees at serious risk of continued abuse, torture and violation of human rights, which they are hoping to flee by seeking refuge in Europe.
Rather than providing refugees with humanitarian care, Europe is trying to dissolve itself of responsibility and leave Libya, a nation that has not been able to hold itself together since the 2011 uprising, solely responsible.
Amnesty International has also criticised the European Union’s attempt to avoid having to care for tens of thousands of refugees. Weak states like Libya are in no position to support the unprecedented refugee crisis and Europe, said Amnesty.
The EU said that its initiatives pertaining to EUBAM will only commence “at the request of the legitimate Libyan authorities.”
Earlier this year the EU made changes to EUBAM in Libya to focus on preventing refugees from making the journey across the Mediterranean to Europe.
The EUBAM is located in Tunis and has established relations with Libyan authorities. The mission’s budget, which was approved by the decision, provides for the activities and staff in Tunis as well as for the possibility to deploy to Libya as soon as the security situation allows.