Abusive detention in Libya & the role of the Italian Government in it

“Libya has long been unsafe for refugees and migrants. Both state and non-state actors subject them to a catalogue of human rights violations and abuses including unlawful killings, torture and other ill-treatment, rape and other sexual violence, indefinitearbitrary detention in cruel and inhuman conditions, and forced labour, among others. Despite well-documented patterns of horrific abuse committed with impunity for over a decade, European states and institutions continue to provide material support and pursue migration policies enabling Libyan coastguards to intercept men, women and children attempting to flee to safety by crossing the Mediterranean Sea andforciblyreturn them to Libya, where they are transferred to abusive detention and face renewed cycles of human rights violations.”

Amnesty International has just released a new report titled ‘No one will look for you‘, showing how, since late 2020 Libyan authorities have “legitimized informal places of captivity with unremedied histories of abuse against refugees and migrants by integrating them into the official migration detention infrastructure.”

The report is a must-read for anyone interested in understanding the latest phase of the fascist anti-migration politics put in place for decades by the European Union. A keystone of the EU approach is to delegate border control to Mediterranean’s States with – to say the least – dubious respect for humanitarian rights, including Libya and Turkey.

In this politics, Italy plays a major role. The Italian Government has just announced its re-financing of the Libyan ‘Costal Guard’, who has a proven track record of harassment towards African migrants and dangerous practices against migrants’ vessels in the open Sea. The video below shows one of the latest episodes, reported by Sea Watch Italy.

The way in which we are defending our borders reveals what we are really defending. Our rotten values.

In memory of Moussa Balde

Today I am turning 38, and all I can think about is that the city I have chosen to live in, the city where my life is continuing and extending, is the same place where last Sunday Moussa Balde had to take his life as the only possible choice, the only possible way forward.

For the international friends, here we are talking about a 23 years old young Guinean man, who travelled across deserts and sea to reach this place – where he got jailed, then beaten up by fascists on the streets, then incarcerated again in one of the ‘centres for repatriation’ (Cpr).

The silencing of the potential of his life – the shutting down of all possible reverberations of his becoming – is a violent act that came before Moussa’s decision to commit suicide in the CPR’s cell where he was locked in. It is ingrained in European migration politics, in its Italian implementation, and in the everyday life of a city that does not simply ‘turn its back’ away, but it fires against, its so-defined ‘other’.

What kind of inhabitation is this? What kind of home?

Rest in power, Moussa Balde.