Migrants continue to risk their lives crossing Mediterranean

Despite efforts to stop irregular migration and highlight the dangers associated with it, the trend of migration to Europe shows no sign of stopping. Migrants from Sub-Saharan Africa are often eager to leave their countries for Europe, where they hope for a better life.

Many migrants have lost their lives trying to reach Europe, either in the Sahara desert, at the hands of smugglers or criminal gangs in Libya or in attempts to cross the Mediterranean.

On 10 June, the Libyan Navy released a report on how the Libyan coastguard rescued 152 irregular migrants, including 19 women and three children, off the country’s western shores.

According to the report, the migrants were rescued in two separate operations off Libya’s western shores on 9 June.

According to the report, one group of migrants was spotted 32 kilometers, north of the city of Zuwara, 120 kilometres west of the capital city, Tripoli.

Another group was rescued 32 kilometres, north of Qara Bulli, which is 80 kilometres east of Tripoli.

The survivors were found to be mostly Algerian, Tunisian and Sudanese migrants, who were trying to reach Europe.

Another report by SOS Mediterranee claims that 629 people, including 123 unaccompanied minors, 11 children and seven pregnant women, were rescued from the central Mediterranean in six separate operations.

The nation of Malta claimed that the migrant rescue effort had been coordinated by Rome and was therefore the responsibility of Italy. However, Italy’s new coalition government, said it would not accept the asylum seekers either, in what may be a sign of a new hard-line anti-migrant position.

The United Nations, through its migration agency, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has said that about 785 migrants have died in the Mediterranean Sea en route to Europe since the beginning of this year. The Libyan Navy has also revealed that 16,000 undocumented migrants were rescued in 2017.

Since the collapse of the central authority in Libya in 2011, the country’s northwestern coast has become a hub for illegal migration to Italy and other countries in Europe. Libya represents a major transit point for African migrants seeking access to Europe, especially Italy.

TMP – 10/07/2018

Photo credit: www.middleeasteye.net. Photo caption: Migrants’ boat sinking