Dozens of migrants drown after boat capsizes off Libyan coast

At least 24 migrants have died after their boat sank off the coast of Libya. The migrants were attempting to cross from Libya to Europe on a rubber dinghy. 

The migrants were men and the majority from Egypt and Morocco, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

Survivors of the capsized boat as well as the intercepted migrants from the two intact boats were returned to a Libyan detention centre.

Between January and September 2020, nearly 8,500 migrants were returned to Libya. According to a report published by Amnesty International at the end of September, tens of thousands of refugees and migrants in Libya are “trapped in a vicious cycle of cruelty with little to no hope of finding safe and legal pathways out”. The report states that since 2016, EU member states have been helping Libyan authorities intercept people trying to cross the Mediterranean and return them to Libyan detention centres. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has further exacerbated the situation pushing many migrants to undertake the dangerous sea journey on unseaworthy and unsafe boats in an attempt to reach Europe. This year, nearly 600 people have died trying to cross the Mediterranean to reach Europe, according to IOM.  IOM has warned that an outbreak of coronavirus could be “truly catastrophic” for the 700,000 refugees and migrants currently in Libya.

TMP_ 18/09/2020

Photo Credit: Shutterstock/Nasib Damlite. Photo Caption: Sinking boat