Over 8,000 illegal immigrants rescued by Libyan navy in 2019: UN

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File: Migrants are rescued during a MOAS operation off the coast of Libya August 18, 2016 in this handout picture courtesy of the Italian Red Cross released on August 19, 2016. Yara Nardi/Italian Red Cross/Handout via REUTERS
File: Migrants are rescued during a MOAS operation off the coast of Libya August 18, 2016 in this handout picture courtesy of the Italian Red Cross. Yara Nardi/Italian Red Cross/Handout via REUTERS

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on Friday said that the Libyan navy has rescued more than 8,000 illegal immigrants this year so far.

“As of November 8, a total of 8,155 refugees and migrants were rescued/intercepted at sea by the Libyan Coast Guard and disembarked in Libya during 100 operations,” the UNHCR said in a statement.

During the same period of last year, more than 14,500 immigrants were rescued by the Libyan navy, the statement added.

The commission, along with international partners, has provided support to many immigrants and refugees in Libya, as well as internally displaced people.

The 2011 uprising, which toppled the government of the late leader Muammar Gaddafi, has created state of insecurity and chaos that led to massive flows of illegal immigrants towards Europe.

Thousands of illegal immigrants and refugees, mostly Africans, are detained in overcrowded shelters across the country.

The UNHCR has repeatedly demanded closure of the shelters, and stressed that Libya is not a safe port for disembarkation of immigrants due to the deteriorating security conditions.

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