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EU promises not to create ‘African Guantanamo Bay’

The European Union (EU) has said it will not create a “Guantanamo Bay for migrants” as it pushes ahead with plans for centres in north Africa.

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Migrants stand on a rescue boat in the Mediterranean. Photo: Reuters

Dimitris Avramopoulos, the EU’s commisioner for migrants, said the group was talking to various United Nations agencies about the proposals.

He said they were now looking at ways to “further engage northern African countries in discussions on possibilities for regional disembarkation schemes”.

However, he stressed these centres would not end up like the notorious detention centre set up by the US in Cuba, which has been accused of numerous human rights’ abuses.

He told reporters:

I want to be very clear on that. I’m against a Guantanamo Bay for migrants. This is something that is against our European values.”

He added:

The way I see this is as an agreement of countries around the Mediterranean to ensure the people get the protection they need and are treated with the dignity they deserve. But it must also mean that getting on the boat does not mean a free ride to the European Union.”

EU leaders will discuss the plans at a June 28-29 summit.

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