Several European migrants drowned off the coast of Libya: UN | Migration news


IOM says that “the continuing loss of life demands an urgent change in the approach to the situation in Libya and the Central Med.”

At least 11 people drowned when a rubber boat carrying two dozen European immigrants capsized in Libya, the UN migration agency said.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) said the tragedy took place on Sunday near the western city of Zawiya. The Libyan coastguard saved the lives of 12 migrants, it said in a post on Twitter.

“The continuing loss of life demands an urgent change in the approach to the situation in Libya and the Central Med,” IOM said.

These migrants were expected to be transferred to a detention center.

Sunday’s deadly shipwreck was the last of the central Mediterranean migration route. Last month, at least 130 people were presumed dead after their ship crashed off Libya, in one of the deadliest maritime tragedies in recent years along the busy route.

Libya fell into chaos after the 2011 uprising that toppled and killed ruler Muammar Gaddafi.

In the years following the uprising, Libya has become the dominant transit point for people traveling to Europe.

Since 2014, more than 20,000 migrants and refugees have died at sea while trying to reach Europe from Africa.

More than 17,000 have been in the central Mediterranean, which the UN describes as the most dangerous migration route in the world.

In recent weeks there has been an increase in crossings and attempts to cross from Libya. According to the IOM count, approximately 7,000 European migrants were intercepted and returned to Libya so far this year.

Smugglers often pack desperate families on poorly equipped rubber boats that stop and melt along the dangerous Central Mediterranean route.

Thousands have drowned along the way. Others were intercepted and returned to Libya to be left at the mercy of armed groups or confined in miserable detention centers.

Human rights groups and United Nations agencies have denounced the inhumane treatment of Libyan detention centers, saying they suffered beatings, rape and insufficient rations.

According to reports, the European Union has spent more than 90 million euros ($ 109 million) on financing and training the Libyan coastguard to stop the crossings.

An Associated Press investigation revealed that the EU sent more than 327.9 million euros ($ 397.9 million) to Libya, mainly channeled through UN agencies.

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