77 illegal migrants rescued off Libyan coast - UNHCR

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FILE PHOTO: Migrants

FILE PHOTO: Migrants

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on Monday said that 77 illegal migrants have been rescued off the Libyan coast.

“We reiterate that Libya is not a safe port to return refugees and migrants to,’’ UNHCR said.

Because of insecurity and chaos that followed the fall of its leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, Libya has become a preferred point of departure for thousands of illegal migrants who want to cross the Mediterranean Sea toward Europe.

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According to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), more than 11,000 illegal migrants have been rescued and returned to Libya so far in 2020.

The IOM also said that hundreds of illegal migrants have died and hundreds of others have gone missing on the Central Mediterranean route so far this year.

Thousands of illegal migrants, who were either rescued at sea or arrested by the authorities, remain detained inside overcrowded reception centres, despite repeated international calls to close those centres.