On Monday, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) announced that a total of 9,839 illegal migrants have been rescued off Libya’s coast in 2020.
In a statement, the IOM said that the rescued included 671 women, and 532 children. It noted that 199 migrants had died, and 275 others went missing in the central Mediterranean route this year.
IOM reiterated its call that Libya was not a safe port for migrants, and appealed to the European Union as well as the international community for urgent action to end the return of vulnerable people to Libya. The international organisation added that an alternative scheme whereby people rescued or intercepted at sea are brought to safe ports must be established urgently. According to IOM, a greater show of solidarity between European States, and frontline Mediterranean states is also needed.
Libya has become the preferred point of departure for illegal migrants crossing the Mediterranean for Europe. Thousands of illegal migrants, either rescued at sea or arrested by local authorities, remain detained inside reception centres in Libya. This is despite repeated international calls to close down the centres.