More than 7,000 migrants rescued off Libyan coast in 2021: IOM

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./ Getty Images)

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) on Monday said that 7,096 migrants have been rescued off the Libyan coast so far this year.

FILE PHOTO: A rescue ship sails on the Mediterranean with migrants on board off the Libyan coast.(Photo by Johannes Filous/Getty Images)

The rescued migrants include 546 women and 336 minors, IOM said, adding that 157 migrants died and 349 others went missing on the Central Mediterranean route so far in 2021.

In 2020, 11,891 migrants were rescued and returned to Libya, 381 died, and 597 others went missing on the Central Mediterranean route, according to IOM.

“The situation cannot be ignored and states must live up to their responsibilities and redeploy search and rescue vessels,” Federico Soda, IOM’s chief of mission to Libya, tweeted.

The state of insecurity and chaos in Libya following the fall of its long-time leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 has encouraged thousands of migrants to cross the Mediterranean Sea towards European shores.

According to IOM and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), migrants and refugees in Libya continue to be subjected to arbitrary detention, ill-treatment, exploitation and violence, conditions that push them to take risky journeys with fatal consequences, especially sea crossings.

Rescued migrants end up inside overcrowded reception centers across Libya, despite repeated international calls to close those centers.