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35 Migrants Rescued Off Libyan Coast: UN

31 August 2019, —: About 100 migrants are crowded together on deck of the rescue ship “Eleonore”. The “Eleonore” took in the migrants on 26.08.2019 off the Libyan coast. The people were rescued while their boat was sinking, said Axel Steier, spokesman for the Dresden aid organisation Mission Lifeline, which supports the “Eleonore”. The ship continues to search for a safe haven. Photo: Johannes Filous/dpa (Photo by Johannes Filous/picture alliance via Getty Images)

A commercial ship has rescued 35 Europe-bound migrants off Libya’s Mediterranean coast and returned them to the capital, Tripoli, the U.N. migration agency said.

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The International Organization for Migration tweeted that migrants, who were intersected on Thursday, were given medical assistance and relief items upon disembarkation.

“Saving lives at sea is a moral and legal obligation. It is however unacceptable that migrants continue to be returned to an unsafe port,” said the IOM.

Libya, which descended into chaos following the 2011 uprising that toppled and killed longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi, has emerged as a major transit point for African and Arab migrants fleeing war and poverty to Europe.

Most migrants make the perilous journey in ill-equipped and unsafe rubber boats. As of last October, roughly 19,000 migrants have drowned or disappeared on the sea route since 2014, according to IOM.

Last week, a rubber dinghy packed with 91 migrants that set out from Libyan shores for Europe, apparently went missing in international waters in the Mediterranean Sea after leaving Libya on Feb. 8.

In recent years, the European Union has partnered with the coast guard and other Libyan forces to stop the flow of migrants. Rights groups say those efforts have left migrants at the mercy of brutal armed groups or confined in squalid detention centers that lack adequate food and water.

The latest developments come amid criticism of the European Union’s lack of rescue missions in the Mediterranean Sea. Member countries agreed earlier this month to end an anti-migrant smuggler operation involving only surveillance aircraft and instead deploy military ships to concentrate on upholding a widely flouted U.N. arms embargo that’s considered key to winding down Libya’s relentless war.

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Written by How Africa

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