The International Organization for Migration (IOM), the United Nations migration agency, on Monday said that 11,891 illegal migrants have been rescued and returned to Libya so far in 2020, compared with 9,225 in 2019.
The migrants rescued this year include 811 women and 711 children, the IOM said. The UN agency also said that 316 migrants died and 417 others went missing on the Central Mediterranean route so far this year, compared with 270 migrants dead and 992 missing in 2019.
Libya has been mired in chaos following the ouster and killing of its leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, making the North African country a preferred point of departure for illegal migrants who want to cross the Mediterranean Sea towards Europe.
The IOM has repeatedly stressed that Libya is not a safe port of disembarkation for migrants. Thousands of illegal migrants, who were either rescued at sea or arrested by the authorities, remain detained in overcrowded detention centers in Libya, despite repeated international calls to close those centers.