Medical charity group Doctors Without Borders (MSF – Médecins Sans Frontières) announced in a Twitter post on April 2 that nearly 100 people had died over the previous weekend in the Mediterranean Sea while attempting to reach Europe.
According to the MSF, four survivors were rescued from a merchant ship, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.
This group of migrants had left Libya and were trying to cross into Europe. The survivors also told the MFS that they had been in a boat carrying about 100 people.
“The tanker Alegria 1 that rescued them is now heading to Libya, ignoring MSF’s offers of medical assistance and the call not to return these people to Libya, where they will almost certainly face detention, abuse, and ill-treatment,” MFS also added.
Confirming the news, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi tweeted on April 3 that more than 90 people had died in another Mediterranean tragedy.
“Europe has proven its ability to host 4 million refugees from Ukraine generously and effectively. It must now urgently consider how to apply this to other refugees and migrants knocking, in distress, at its doors,” Commissioner Grandi said in a Twitter post.
Doctors Without Borders, which goes by its French acronym MSF, also stressed that the survivors need extra protection and care and that none of them should return to a place where they face detention, abuse and ill-treatment.
This year, Libya’s coast guard has captured and returned to the mainland more than 3,000 migrants, most of whom are men.
According to the UN migration agency (IOM), more than 32,000 migrants returned last year.
Libya has already become a key destination for most migrants from Africa and Asia. According to data from the UNHCR, the main destination that migrants intend to reach by ship is Italy.
UNHCR has previously revealed that more than 67,000 people arrived in Italy by sea last year. Whereas, the IOM Project on Missing Immigrants estimates that in 2021 more than 1,500 people drowned in the Central Mediterranean while trying to reach European shores.
Between January 1 and March 28, about 300 migrants died along the Central Mediterranean route, while 3,100 were captured and returned to Libya.
In recent years, human traffickers have taken advantage of the chaos in Libya by smuggling migrants across the long borders of the oil-rich country of six nations. Migrants, upon return to Libya, are usually sent to government-run detention centres filled with abuse and ill-treatment.