MSF responds to British Foreign Secretary's announcement of more support to the Libyan Coastguard

Wednesday, August 23, 2017 — Commenting on Boris Johnson's visit to Libya today, and the Foreign Office’s announcement that it would “[build] on the work the UK is already doing with European partners to strengthen … the Libyan Coastguard,” Medecins Sans Frontieres/Doctors Without Borders(MSF) UK Head of Programmes, Andre Heller-Perache said:

“What Boris Johnson notably fails to mention is the multiple occasions - as recent as last week - on which the UK-trained Libyan coastguard has threatened, or even fired upon, NGO search and rescue vessels operating in international waters.

 “This shows that the British Government is happy to sweep the appalling human cost of its deterrence policies on migration under the carpet – anything to make this someone else’s problem. 

 “The reality is that UK policy is helping to trap thousands of people in Libya in appalling conditions – MSF medics see people in detention who tell us they were brought there by the Libyan Coast Guard.  Worse still, it is pushing refugees and migrants into the hands of criminals and people traffickers, contributing to the very problem the Government claims to want to solve.

 “The Foreign Secretary can no longer remain silent on this issue – he has serious questions to answer on the harm caused by Britain’s support for the Libyan coastguard, and the role that it plays trapping people in Libya.”