More than 600 migrants have drowned attempting to cross to Europe in 2021

More than 600 people have died and another 1000 were returned to Libya this year alone while attempting to cross dangerous waters to get to Europe

IOM insists that Libya remains unsafe for migrants and urges Europe to make an effort to ensure these people reach their shores safely. [Photo: IOM]
Anadolu news agency reports that more than 600 migrants died attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea in 2021, according to the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC).

Another 11 migrants drowned Sunday off the coast of Libya, according to Dax Roque, NRC’s country director in Libya.

“This disaster, like the others before it, could have been avoided entirely if Europe had stepped up and permitted rescue missions to carry migrants and refugees to safety rather than transferring blame to others,” he said.

The Libyan Coast Guard has intercepted hundreds of migrants at sea in the last week, including another 95 migrants on Sunday” he said.

He claimed that more than half a million migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers are currently in Libya, many of whom are living in deplorable conditions.

“Migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers are among Libya’s most vulnerable citizens, facing arbitrary detention in inhumane circumstances, exploitation, kidnapping, sexual harassment, high rates of torture, disappearances, and extortion,” he said.

He cautioned that safe and legal routes to Europe are virtually non-existent, forcing migrants to risk their lives and that more people are expected to take this “perilous journey.”

On Saturday, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) announced that 310 migrants were intercepted off the coast of Libya. On Sunday, another 173 were returned.

The migrants intercepted in the Mediterranean by the Libyan coast guard over the last two days bring the total number of people returned to Libya this year to about 5,000.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees 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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