The International Organization for Migration said on the 12th that a catastrophic shipwreck in the waters off Homs in Libya killed at least 74 migrants. This is the latest in a series of shipwrecks in the central Mediterranean. Since October 1st, at least 8 similar tragedies have occurred.
According to reports, there were more than 120 people on board the sunken ship, including women and children. Forty-seven survivors have been taken ashore by the Coast Guard and fishermen, 31 bodies have been recovered, and the search for the victims continues.
In the past two days, two ships capsized in the middle of the Mediterranean, causing at least 19 people to drown and die, including two children. The only non-governmental organization ship currently operating on this route, the Open Arm, has rescued more than 200 people in the last three operations.
Federico Soda, the head of the Immigration Organization in Libya, said that the increasing loss of life in the Mediterranean Sea shows that countries have failed to take decisive action to redeploy much-needed, specialized search and rescue for the world’s deadliest cross-sea channel. power.
He stated that the Immigration Organization has long called for changes to practices that are clearly unworkable on Libya and the Mediterranean. These changes include stopping the practice of sending migrants back to Libya and establishing a clear entry and landing mechanism, accompanied by subsequent unity by other countries Action. Thousands of vulnerable people continue to pay the price for inaction at sea and on land.
So far, at least 900 people have drowned in the Mediterranean while trying to reach the European coast, some of them due to delays in rescue work. According to UN records, more than 11,000 people were sent back to Libya, putting them at risk of human rights violations, detention, abuse, trafficking and exploitation.
According to statistics from the Immigration Organization, the number of people leaving Libya has surged recently. Since the beginning of October alone, 1,900 people have been intercepted and repatriated, and more than 780 have arrived in Italy from Libya.
Detention facilities are overcrowded, the humanitarian situation of immigrants there is deteriorating, and the widespread arbitrary arrests and imprisonment, extortion and abuse are shocking. In the absence of any protection for migrants deported to Libya, the country’s search and rescue area must be redefined to allow international actors to carry out life-saving operations.
The Immigration Organization pointed out that Libya is not a safe return port, and once again called on the international community and the European Union to take urgent and concrete actions to end the cycle of repatriation and exploitation.
The Immigration Organization also emphasized that it is necessary to immediately lift continuous restrictions on NGOs’ critical rescue operations and acknowledge that their important interventions meet the humanitarian needs of saving lives.