Close to 1,000 migrants intercepted, returned to Libya: IOM

31 August 2019, ---: About 100 migrants are crowded together on deck of the rescue ship "Eleonore". The "Eleonore" took in the migrants on 26.08.2019 off the Libyan coast. The people were rescued while their boat was sinking, said Axel Steier, spokesman for the Dresden aid organisation Mission Lifeline, which supports the "Eleonore". The ship continues to search for a safe haven. Photo: Johannes Filous/dpa (Photo by Johannes Filous/picture alliance via Getty Images)
FILE PHOTO: About 100 migrants are crowded together on deck of the rescue ship. (Photo by Johannes Filous/picture alliance via Getty Images)

Nearly 1,000 migrants were intercepted and returned to Libya this week, according to an official of the International Organization for Migration.

Safa Msehli, a spokeswoman for the IOM, also decried the fact that the migrants were likely to be taken to detention centres in the North African country where they will face the “cycle of exploitation and abuse they risked their lives to flee.”

“Most end up in detention where the UN has been documenting dire conditions and horrific abuses,” Msehli said.

Thousands of refugees and migrants are held in about more than a dozen official detention facilities in Libya, some under control of by armed groups, in addition to an unknown number in neglected centres run by traffickers, the United Nations says.

Human rights groups say abuses, including violence and forced labour, are widespread in these detention centres.

Msehli maintained that the IOM has no involvement whatsoever in the management of detention centres for migrants and does not condone that system.

“We reiterate that the system of arbitrary detention must be abolished.”

The Mediterranean Sea is the most preferred route by migrants from Africa, mostly from Libya, who attempt to get into Europe through Italy and Malta.