In the weeks following The Outlaw Ocean Project’s investigation of the European Union’s support for the capture and detention of migrants in Libya, debate breaks out anew.
Washington D.C. – WEBWIRE – Friday, January 14, 2022
An investigation on the E.U.’s outsourcing of immigration enforcement to Libya prompted further discourse among politicians, religious leaders, human rights advocates, and legislators.
The Outlaw Ocean Project, a journalism non-profit directed by award-winning investigative reporter Ian Urbina, partnered with the New Yorker to publish the 10,000-word story.
The reporting revealed that the E.U. has for years sent money and equipment to Libya’s Coast Guard to catch migrants headed to Europe. These migrants are then placed in detention centers run by militia groups.
In Greece, Pope Francis condemned Europe’s policies of “self-interest and nationalism,” that he said had led to a wholesale mistreatment of innocent migrants so vast it represented nothing less than the “shipwreck of civilization.”
Days after two dozen migrants drowned while attempting to cross the English Channel, French President Emmanuel Macron argued that Europe’s future depended on its ability to control its borders.
In the days after the investigation was published, Libyan Foreign Minister Najla Mangoush said that her country was tired of doing Europe’s bidding in limiting migration to the E.U. “Please do not push the problem in our lap and please do not point your fingers at Libya and portray us as a country which abuses and disrespects refugees,” said the minister.
Human rights advocates argued that erecting an invisible wall across the Mediterranean is not the way to respond to the global stampede that climate migration has set in motion. They instead called for policies and resources that would address the push factors driving migrants toward Europe.
Recent legal actions taken against the E.U. before the International Criminal Court and the United Nations have become part of a broader challenge to the E.U.’s policies in the wake of the investigation’s findings.
The story was published in outlets across the United States and Europe, and throughout the Middle East and Africa, running ultimately in 11 languages, 26 countries and 53 magazine, radio, television and newspaper outlets.
At the center of the investigation was the death of Aliou Candé, a farmer and father of three who was killed inside one of these detention centers. Police initially listed him in paperwork without a name.
Soon after the story was published, the hashtag #AliouCande went viral and the link to the story was seen by more than 13 million people on Twitter alone.
About The Outlaw Ocean Project:
The Outlaw Ocean Project is a journalism non-profit that produces investigative stories about human rights and environmental concerns on the two thirds of the planet covered by water. Investigative reporter Ian Urbina founded the organization after spending years at sea reporting stories about lawlessness at sea for the Times, and later for The Outlaw Ocean book, published in 2019.
One of the limitations of the traditional model used especially by legacy news outlets, is that worthy investigative stories are typically seen by only a small fraction of the public because these stories get published in just one outlet and typically in just one language. Part of what The Outlaw Ocean Project and Ian Urbina seek to do is not just produce polished narrative investigative journalism but also convert that journalism into new forms in order to reach new audiences.
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