Illegal Immigrants

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) said on Monday that 7,096 illegal migrants have been rescued off the Libyan coast so far this year.

The rescued migrants include 546 women and 336 minors, IOM said, adding that 157 illegal migrants died and 349 others went missing on the Central Mediterranean route so far in 2021.

In 2020, 11,891 illegal migrants were rescued and returned to Libya, 381 illegal migrants died, and 597 others went missing on the Central Mediterranean route, according to IOM.

“The situation cannot be ignored and states must live up to their responsibilities and redeploy search and rescue vessels,” Federico Soda, IOM’s chief of mission to Libya, tweeted.

The state of insecurity and chaos in Libya following the fall of its long-time leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 has encouraged thousands of migrants to cross the Mediterranean Sea towards European shores.

According to IOM and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), migrants and refugees in Libya continue to be subjected to arbitrary detention, ill-treatment, exploitation and violence, conditions that push them to take risky journeys with fatal consequences, especially sea crossings. Rescued migrants end up inside overcrowded reception centers across Libya, despite repeated international calls to close those centers.

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