A total of 1,315 migrants were intercepted off the coast of Libya and sent back over the past week to that country, which is not considered a safe haven, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) reported today. A total of 1,315 migrants have been intercepted off the coast of Libya and sent over the past week to that country, which is not considered a safe haven, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said today.
Since the beginning of this year, some 3,000 migrants have tried to leave Libyan territory on board precarious vessels and have been intercepted by local maritime patrols, according to data from IOM, the agency that integrates the United Nations system.
Libya is part of the so-called Central Mediterranean migratory route, seen as one of the most deadly, which also leaves from Algeria and Tunisia towards Italy and Malta.
The country has in recent years become a revolving plate for hundreds of thousands of migrants, mainly Africans and Arabs who are trying to escape conflict, violence and poverty, who are trying to reach Europe across the Mediterranean Sea.
The IOM specified that the largest group of migrants, a total of 340 people, was intercepted last Friday, 19 February.
These people were intercepted off the country’s capital, Tripoli, while trying to cross the Mediterranean on board various vessels and were redirected to the local port.
In the Libyan port, IOM provided first medical care to migrants, who were later transferred to so-called migratory detention centers.
Several humanitarian organizations working on the ground report frequently about the inhumane conditions of these centers and the violations of the rights of people who are transferred and held in these places.
The organizations also point to criticism of the methods of the Libyan Coast Guard, a force trained and supported in recent years by the European Union (EU) in an attempt to curb the departure of migrants towards Europe.
This Libyan force is suspected of having links to organized networks of illegal trafficking in migrants, who have found Libya a lucrative market due to the country’s situation, immersed in political and security chaos.