UNHCR: 42 Europe Bound Migrants Returned to Libya

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On Wednesday, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) announced that 42 Europe-bound asylum-seekers and migrants were returned to Tripoli. Among them were four children and eight women, of whom two were pregnant.

UNHCR added that the majority of the asylum-seekers were from Nigeria, Sudan, Yemen, and Egypt. “UNHCR and International Rescue Committee (IRC) provided assistance and medical aid to all survivors,” it tweeted.

Libya has become the preferred point of departure for migrants wanting to cross the Mediterranean towards European shores, since the 2011 uprising toppled leader Muammar Gaddafi.

According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), more than 22,000 illegal migrants, including women and children, have been rescued during 2021. Hundreds of others have died or gone missing off the Libyan coast on the dangerous central Mediterranean route.

Rescued migrants end up inside overcrowded reception centers across Libya, despite repeated international calls to close these centers down. In traffickers’ camps as well as official detention centers, thousands of migrants are tortured for extortion purposes, and women often suffer sexual violence. “Many migrants who had departed from the Libyan coast claimed that they have been beaten and tortured in the centers where they were detained prior to leaving,” a nurse working for MSF told Italy’s news website ANSA.