On Monday, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said 15 migrants bodies were recovered off the Libyan coast.
“Bodies of 15 persons were recovered as 2 boats arrived at Tripoli Naval Base on Monday evening. As many as 177 survivors were provided aid, some in need of urgent medical help by UNHCR and partner,” UNHCR tweeted.
“The passengers had set off from Zwara and Alkhoms (western Libya) the night before,” UNHCR said, describing the matter as a “tragic loss of life.”
According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), a total of 26,314 illegal migrants, including women and children, have been rescued and returned to Libya so far this year. An estimated 474 have died, and 689 were reported missing on the central Mediterranean route.
Libya has been suffering from insecurity and chaos since the fall of long-time leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. This has made the North African country the preferred point of departure for migrants wishing to cross the Mediterranean to Europe.
Notably, the United Nations has repeatedly condemned the inhuman conditions in Libya’s detention centers. Migrants and refugees are held in severely overcrowded facilities with limited access to life-saving humanitarian assistance.
Recently, The Libya Ministry of Interior called on international organizations to assist in the voluntary return and deportation of migrants as soon as possible.
The Ministry affirmed its professional premises, security priorities as well as its moral and legal responsibility. It also confirmed its respect for human rights in dealing with the file of migrants and the repercussions of their “illegal” presence for the country’s national security and the regional environment.