Emmanuel Macron: Hot Spots for asylum seekers in Libya

Macron announces plan to set up 'hot spots' to handle asylum requests, just two days after brokering talks in Paris.

    Emmanuel Macron says France will set up processing centres this summer in Libya for asylum seekers trying to reach Europe across the Mediterranean Sea.

    The French president's announcement comes two days after he brokered talks in Paris between the leaders of the two rival authorities in Libya, who agreed to a conditional ceasefire.

    "The idea is to create hot spots to avoid people taking crazy risks when they are not all eligible for asylum. We'll go to them," Marcon said on Thursday during a visit to a refugee shelter in central France.

    He said the plan would be put in place "this summer".

    READ MORE: One day in Calais - The refugees hiding in the forest

    Libya is the main launchpad for African migrants trying to reach Europe in boats operated by smugglers that frequently sink.

    Macron had said on Tuesday he hoped the agreement to try to end five years of chaos in Libya would check the flow of migrants.

    Since January, more than 100,000 people have made the dangerous journey from Libya, according to the Switzerland-based International Organization for Migration (IOM).

    Over 2,300 have drowned this year attempting to make the journey, the IOM says.

    Refugees 'Living in Hell'

    Human Rights Watch, the international rights monitor, released a report on Wednesday saying that the French police routinely abuse refugees and migrants in the port town of Calais, accusing authorities of turning a blind eye to police misconduct.

    Wednesday's report - titled Like Living in Hell - accuses police and riot squads of regularly using pepper spray on asylum seekers, including children who do not pose a threat, even while they are sleeping.

    Officers have also confiscated or pepper-sprayed asylum seekers' food, water, sleeping bags, blankets and clothes, the report added, saying that the conduct violates international standards of policing.

    French authorities have denied the accusations in the report, which relied on interviews with 61 people.

    SOURCE: News agencies


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