Libyan Coast Guard intercepts over 80 migrants headed to Europe

After the first shipwreck of 2021 claimed the lives of 43 people, Libyan Coast Guard stopped more migrants attempting to reach European shores

Over 300 migrants seeking refuge in Europe have already been returned to Libya in 2021. [Photo: AFP/Getty Images]
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) stated that over 80 migrants were intercepted on their way to Europe today by the Libyan Coast Guard and returned to Libyan soil to be held in detention centres.

“So far this year, some 300 people, including women and children, were returned to the country and ended up in detention,” said the IOM. “We reiterate that no one should be returned to Libya.”

This was the second interception off Libya in as many days. Late Thursday, the IOM said the Libyan navy returned to Libya another 86 migrants, including seven women and 19 children, who were intercepted earlier in the Mediterranean.

“We reiterate the need to: establish predictable disembarkation in a safe port; dismantle the detention system; deploy State led Search and Rescue assets; lift restrictions on the work of NGOs,” The chief of mission for IOM in Libya, Federico Soda said in a tweet.

Earlier this week, a boat carrying migrants bound for Europe capsized and at least 43 drowned, the first shipwreck of 2021 involving migrants seeking refuge in Europe.

Survivors stated that the dead were all men from West African countries according to IOM.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has reemphasised that it is against human rights laws to return migrants to Libya.

Since the eruption of the chaos that followed the 17 of February revolution in 2011, Libya has become a point of departure for thousands of migrants attempting to escape Africa and cross the Mediterranean to reach Europe.

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