Guterres Concerned over Migrants Returning to Libya

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United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has expressed concern about reports of coordinated operations to stop migrant boats and the use of special ships to return refugees and migrants to Libya.

In a report, Guterres said Libya is not considered a safe place to land migrants, and that UN Member States are obligated to ensure that the migrants are transported to a safe place and in conditions that preserve their human rights.

He hailed the efforts of the Libyan authorities that have committed to rescue migrants “under extremely difficult conditions.”

Guterres added that reports of unsafe interception practices and violence during disembarkation are worrying.

“There is no justification for the conditions in which migrants are detained in Libya, while these migrants face human rights violations which should be addressed urgently,” Guterres said in his report.

On Saturday, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said 128 persons were intercepted tonight at sea, aboard 2 boats by the Libyan Coast Guard, and returned to Tripoli, despite it being an unsafe port.

“The International Rescue Committee (IRC) and UNHCR provided relief items and medical assistance to all survivors,” UNHCR tweeted, confirming that all survivors were transported by local authorities to detention.