IOM, UNHCR: Rescued migrants shouldn’t be returned to Libya

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, said that over 270 illegal immigrants and refugees were handed over to the Libyan Coast Guard by the ship “Vos Triton”, sailing under the flag of Gibraltar.

“Vos Triton” had rescued the group in international waters during their attempt to reach Europe on 14 June. On 15 June, the Libyan Coast Guard returned them to the main port of Tripoli, from where they were taken into detention by the Libyan authorities.

The two organizations reiterated that no one should be returned to Libya after being rescued at sea. Under international maritime law, rescued individuals should be disembarked at a place of safety.

“IOM and UNHCR staff are in Libya, providing life-saving humanitarian assistance. However, the agencies reiterate that the basic preconditions to ensure the safety and protection of rescued migrants and refugees post-disembarkation are lacking; therefore, Libya cannot be considered a safe place.” The statement said on Wednesday.


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