Libyan authorities intercepted 30,990 migrants heading for Europe in 2021 according to statistics from the United Nations which stated that the number is triple that of the year prior.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres is said to have confirmed the figures in an internal report to the UN Security council noting, “As of December 14, 2021, the Libyan coast guard had intercepted 30,990 migrants and refugees and returned them to Libya, almost three times the total number of people returned in 2020.”
In a single incident in October of last year, the Libyan coast guard intercepted a wooden boat carrying around 500 migrants who were bound for Europe.
Over 12,000 migrants are said to remain detained in Libya as the United Nations police mission in Libya (UNSMIL ) has documented cases of sexual abuse, torture and arbitrary detention, the Associated Press reports.
“I remain gravely concerned by the continuing violations of the human rights of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers in Libya,” Guterres said.
UN: About 500 Europe-Bound Migrants Intercepted off Libya https://t.co/LoJY3jSIPJ
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) October 3, 2021
“Female and male migrants and refugees continued to face heightened risks of rape, sexual harassment and trafficking by armed groups, transnational smugglers and traffickers as well as officials from the Directorate for Combating Illegal Migration, which operates under the Ministry of Interior,” he added.
The Libyan coast guard has been supported by the European Union since 2016 under Operation Sophia, which helped train coastguard recruits and in July of 2017, the Union funded new recruits in order to boost the force’s ranks.
Despite the Libyan coastguard intercepting over 30,000 migrants in 2021, Italy, the destination for most migrant boats leaving Libya, saw a surge of new arrivals last year and was one of the busiest migrant routes to Europe.
One of the most popular destinations for migrant boats in 2021 was the island of Lampedusa, which is situated between Tunisia and the island of Sicily in the Mediterranean.
Last year the island, which has a population of around 6,500, saw the arrival of 35,000 illegal immigrants, leading to the islands reception centre, which is meant to house just 250 people, becoming constantly overcrowded.
Italy’s Prime Minister Mario Draghi revealed that his country has seen a six-fold increase in migrant landings since 2019, and called for help from the European Union in dealing with the ongoing crisis. https://t.co/oHLmncZGXR
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) December 5, 2021