More than 200 illegal migrants rescued off Libyan coast: UNHCR

TRIPOLI, More than 200 illegal migrants, including women and children, have been rescued off Libyan coast, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said.

“Over 200 persons were brought to Tripoli by the Libyan Coast Guard, among them 9 women and 3 children,” the agency tweeted.

“UNHCR and partner IRC (International Rescue Committee) are providing relief items and medical aid to all survivors,” the commissioner said.

The Libyan navy said it recovered the body of one undocumented migrant during Saturday’s rescue operation, adding that some migrants have escaped after they were rescued and returned to Libya.

Due to insecurity and chaos in the North African nation following the overthrow of its leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, thousands of undocumented migrants chose to cross the Mediterranean from Libya towards Europe.

The International Organization for Migration estimated that in 2020, 323 migrants died and 417 others went missing on the Central Mediterranean route, while 11,891 illegal migrants were rescued and returned to Libya.

Many illegal migrants who were either rescued at sea or arrested by the authorities remain detained in overcrowded reception centers in Libya, despite international calls to close those centers.

SEPARATELY, the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) on Saturday expressed concern over the arbitrary detention of a young Libyan woman in western Libya.

“UNSMIL is deeply concerned for the safety of Widad Al Shergi, a young Libyan woman who was arbitrarily detained in front of Zawiya court, west of Tripoli, on 31 January, allegedly by an armed group. Her family has had no contact with her since 2 February,” the agency said in a statement.

“This incident blatantly undermines the rule of law and human rights in Libya,” the mission said, calling for her “immediate and unconditional release.”

“UNSMIL calls for a full investigation by the General Prosecutor and for all perpetrators to be brought to justice,” it said.

Source: Nam News Network