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NGOs using migration for 'propaganda' - Libyan minister

Libyan Foreign Minister Mousa Kousa this afternoon refuted claims that Libya violated human rights of illegal immigrants, insisting voluntary organisations were using the issue for propaganda purposes.

Mr Kousa was asked by timesofmalta.com for his reaction to a report by the Jesuit Refugee Service in December, which argued that Libyan detention centres were “hopeless, dark, overcrowded and lacking basic sanitation and hygiene facilities”.

The Libyan Foreign Minister is in Malta for the 26th meeting of the Malta-Libya joint commission. He was speaking at a joint press conference with Foreign Minister Tonio Borg.

The JRS report documented the stories of migrants who made it to Malta. They spoke of death, violence and racism as being the order of the day in Libya.

The migrants claimed they were refused medical care and fed just two bread rolls a day.

Visibly uncomfortable by the question, Mr Kousa said Libya, with a population of six million, had two million illegal immigrants.

“We are acting as guards to Europe, and Libya might not be able to continue to do this. You don’t know what the problem is. The problem is shouldered by Libya.”

Referring to non-governmental organisations working with immigrants, Mr Kousa said they were using the issue for “propaganda purposes” without offering any assistance to immigrants.

“We ask the NGOs to come to Libya and provide treatment, care and shelter to these immigrants.

“Libya provides such treatment and this is what we believe human rights are.”

He blamed Europe for the problem of illegal migration and called on the international community to pay attention to this phenomena.

Mr Kousa said it was not Libya’s business what Malta did with its illegal immigrants.

“We are trying to relieve you from part of the burden but the rest of the EU member states are not interested and not paying attention to this problem.”

He said this was why Libya had to reach separate agreements with Italy and Malta.

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