IOM Objects Expulsion of Illegal Migrants Back to Libya

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The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) has rejected the deportation of 49 migrants that arrived on a wooden boat that broke down in Maltese waters yesterday, dubbing it a violation of international sea law.

The organization called on the European Union and the international community to take immediate steps to prevent the return of vulnerable people to Libya, and to respect the principle of non-refoulement.

“We remind states that saving lives must remain the first priority, and that responding to distress calls at sea is a legal and moral responsibility.”

The organization pointed out that in the past two days, the Libyan Coast Guard returned more than 400 people to Tripoli, most of whom were transferred to a detention center run by the Ministry of the Interior, and expressed concern about the safety of these detainees.

The organization stressed that it continues to provide support to migrants in Libya, despite the difficulty in reaching them due to the ongoing conflict.