High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini, Commissioners Johannes Hahn and Dimitris Avramopoulos have issued today the following joint statement on the air strike in Tripoli:
The shocking and tragic attack on a detention centre in Tripoli is a reminder of the human cost of the conflict in Libya as well as the dire and vulnerable situation of migrants caught up in the spiral of violence in the country. Violence against civilians, including refugees and migrants, is utterly unacceptable and we deplore it in the strongest terms.
We have repeatedly called for a cessation of hostilities and the respect of international humanitarian law. The European Union joins the call for the UN to carry out an immediate investigation into who perpetrated this horrific attack. Those responsible should be held to account.
Throughout this conflict the EU, in close cooperation with the UN and in the framework of the AU-EU-UN Taskforce on Libya, has worked to protect Libyans, refugees and migrants. We have sought to evacuate refugees and migrants from the detention centres near the frontline. Where possible, we have enabled them to find safety outside of Libya – these efforts must continue and be stepped up urgently.
Unfortunately, many more are at risk and should be transferred to safe places swiftly so they can receive assistance and be evacuated. We repeat our broader call on all sides in the conflict for the respect of international humanitarian law and to allow unconditional access of humanitarian actors. Our position on Libya’s system of detaining migrants is clear: this system has to end and migration needs to be managed in full compliance with international standards, including when it comes to human rights.
This attack also shows up once again the need for a ceasefire in the Libyan conflict. The EU will continue to lend its fullest support to the UN and UNSG Special Representative Salamé to achieve a political settlement. All regional and international partners should equally lend their support to achieving peace.