UNHCR Announces Deaths of 109 Migrants Since Beginning Of 2020

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On Friday, UNHCR announced that approximately 8,600 illegal migrants had crossed the Mediterranean to reach Europe from Libya. It stated that 109 people had died at sea since January.

UNHCR said in a report that these represent 68% of the migrants who arrived in Europe, specifically through Italy and Malta. The rest arrived through Tunisia, Algeria, Greece, or Albania.

The report pointed out that the number of migrants who fled Libya increased this year. The number of departures increased from May to November 2019 due to the effects of the ongoing conflict in Libya. The number of departures from Libya decreased significantly compared to early 2017.

It has also called for an increase in the search and rescue capacity in the central Mediterranean, advising against the return of migrants to Libya as it remains unsafe.

This comes as German relief organizations Brot für die Welt and Medco International have criticized the latest European Union immigration policy, which includes a program to repatriate African migrants from Libya.

The two organizations indicated that the program launched in 2016 with funds from the European Union’s Emergency Assistance Trust Fund remain based on the initiative of the EU and the International Organization for Migration.

Medco International pointed out that the aim of returning the migrants to their home countries was to reduce the numbers attempting to cross into Europe from Africa.