Migrants and refugees wait for assistance from aid workers on an overcrowded rubber boat in the Mediterranean Sea. File/AP
At least 480 migrants were intercepted off Libya by local coast guard forces over the weekend, according to the United Nations’ migration agency.
They are among the 4,500 people who have been brought back to Libya this year after attempting the dangerous Mediterranean Sea crossing to Europe, the International Organization for Migration said in a tweet on Sunday.
Photos posted by the IOM Twitter feed showed workers distributing blankets to migrants after they arrived onshore, but the agency also voiced its objection to the treatment of migrants inside the war-torn country.
“We maintain that Libya is not a safe port,” it wrote.
It said that 310 migrants were brought back to shore on Saturday night, and an additional 173 were returned on Sunday.
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In the years since the 2011 NATO-backed uprising that ousted and killed longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi, Libya has emerged as the dominant transit point for migrants fleeing war and poverty in Africa and the Middle East. Smugglers often pack desperate families into ill-equipped rubber boats that stall and founder on the perilous Central Mediterranean route.
In recent years, the European Union has partnered with Libya’s coast guard and other local groups to stem such dangerous sea crossings. Rights groups say those policies leave migrants at the mercy of armed groups or confined in squalid detention centers rife with abuses.
On Jan.19, a boat carrying migrants bound for Europe capsized in the Mediterranean off the coast of Libya, and at least 43 people drowned. The tragedy marked the first maritime disaster in 2021 involving migrants seeking better lives in Europe. The IOM had cited survivors as saying that the dead were all men from West African nations.
The IOM estimates that there remain more than 60,000 Nigerians in Libya among roughly 600,000 migrants from 39 nations, most of them with no legal documents, held in camps, prisons, private houses or brothels.
The migrants, including 50 minors and five pregnant women, "were rescued by the SOS Mediterranee Search and Rescue team in two critical rescues in international waters off the coast of Libya on Friday, December 20th," said the NGO, which charters the Ocean Viking rescue ship along with medical charity Doctors Without Borders.
Rackete was arrested on June 29 for entering Italy’s Lampedusa port despite a veto imposed by far-right Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, and knocking a coast guard boat out of the way to land 40 migrants
Muizzu was leading the count with 54% of the vote against 46% won by Solih, local media reported. Maldivians also voted at polling stations in India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Britain and Abu Dhabi.
The programme is committed to ensuring the safety and well-being of seniors through various housing initiatives and services within its projects. I
This will be coinciding with the launch of the Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference (Adipec) 2023. Vehicles of public cleaning companies and logistical support vehicles are excluded from decision.
The Dubai Future Experts Program, developed by the Dubai Future Foundation in collaboration with The Executive Council of Dubai, prepares a group of future-focused experts in different sectors across Dubai’s government.