Europe

Rights concerns loom over plan to block migrants in Libya

  • FILE - In this Jan. 27, 2017 file photo, sub-Saharan migrants raise their hands to grab a life jacket as they are rescued by members of the Proactive Open Arms NGO, in the Mediterranean Sea north of Zumarah, Libya. European Union President Donald Tusk said on Thursday, Feb. 2, 2017, that a summit on migration on Friday, Feb. 3, 2017, is poised to take a big step in closing off the illegal migration route through the central Mediterranean where thousands have died over the past several years trying to reach the EU from Libya. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti, File)

    FILE - In this Jan. 27, 2017 file photo, sub-Saharan migrants raise their hands to grab a life jacket as they are rescued by members of the Proactive Open Arms NGO, in the Mediterranean Sea north of Zumarah, Libya. European Union President Donald Tusk said on Thursday, Feb. 2, 2017, that a summit on migration on Friday, Feb. 3, 2017, is poised to take a big step in closing off the illegal migration route through the central Mediterranean where thousands have died over the past several years trying to reach the EU from Libya. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • A woman is assisted by members of the Spanish NGO Proactiva Open Arms, as they crowd on board of a rubber boat sailing out of control in the Mediterranean some miles north of Sabratha, Libya, on Friday, Feb. 3, 2017.  European Union leaders are poised to take a big step on Friday in closing off the illegal migration routes from Libya across the central Mediterranean, where thousands have died trying to reach the EU, the  EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini said. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

    A woman is assisted by members of the Spanish NGO Proactiva Open Arms, as they crowd on board of a rubber boat sailing out of control in the Mediterranean some miles north of Sabratha, Libya, on Friday, Feb. 3, 2017. European Union leaders are poised to take a big step on Friday in closing off the illegal migration routes from Libya across the central Mediterranean, where thousands have died trying to reach the EU, the EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini said. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)  (The Associated Press)

  • Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, right, and Prime Minister of Libya Fayez al-Sarraj exchange signed copies of a memorandum during a joint press conference at Chigi palace in Rome, Thursday, Feb. 2, 2017. Gentiloni and al-Sarraj signed a wide-ranging memorandum of understanding reinforcing Italy's role as the leading European country dealing with migration through the central Mediterranean. (Ettore Ferrari/ANSA via AP)

    Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, right, and Prime Minister of Libya Fayez al-Sarraj exchange signed copies of a memorandum during a joint press conference at Chigi palace in Rome, Thursday, Feb. 2, 2017. Gentiloni and al-Sarraj signed a wide-ranging memorandum of understanding reinforcing Italy's role as the leading European country dealing with migration through the central Mediterranean. (Ettore Ferrari/ANSA via AP)  (The Associated Press)

Human rights concerns are looming over a proposed EU plan to block migrants in Libya.

A one-day EU summit in Malta Friday is discussing how to stop the so-far relentless flow of people fleeing poverty and conflicts in Africa and elsewhere setting out in smugglers' boats launched from Libyan shores. EU leaders want to close down that route across the central Mediterranean, likely through naval and economic assistance to the beleaguered government in Libya.

Advocates for refugees cite inhumane conditions in Libyan detention camps where the migrants are kept.

Doctors Without Borders general director Arjan Hehenkamp says in a statement that "the European Union and its member states need a reality check." The official calls the camps "dangerously overcrowded."