UNCHR: Libya not a safe port for refugees and migrants

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FILE PHOTO: 27 August 2019, ---: The rescue ship "Eleonore" sails on the Mediterranean with around 100 migrants on board. (Photo by Johannes Filous/picture alliance via Getty Images)
FILE PHOTO: 27 August 2019: The rescue ship “Eleonore” sails on the Mediterranean with around 100 migrants on board. (Photo by Johannes Filous/picture alliance via Getty Images)

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) says refugees and migrants attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea from Africa into Europe should not be returned to Libya.

“We reiterate that Libya is not a safe port,” UNHCR said.

A new batch of 77 migrants attempting to cross the Mediterranean was stopped and returned to Libya over the weekend.

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 people who want to cross the Mediterranean Sea toward Europe.

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

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

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

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