The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has called on the international community including the European Union to find an alternative safe disembarkation mechanism for migrants rescued fleeing Libya by boat.
“Libya cannot wait. It is time for concrete action to ensure lives rescued at sea are taken to ports of safety, and to end the system of arbitrary detention.” said IOM Libya Chief of Mission Federico Soda.
At least 1,700 migrants have been intercepted or rescued and returned to Libya by the coast guard since the beginning of the new year.
The lifesaving efforts of NGO vessels operating in the Mediterranean should be recognized and any restrictions and delays on disembarkation must be lifted.
IOM said the humanitarian situation in Libya continues to deteriorate as the conflict enters its tenth month. Over 2,000 migrants remain detained in deplorable conditions, amid access challenges for humanitarian workers.
“During the first two weeks of January 2020, nearly 1,000 migrants were returned to Libya, 600 of them have been taken to a facility under the control of the Ministry of Interior. Those migrants are now unaccounted for.” It added.