More migrants die trying to cross Mediterranean

Published 03. May 2021
Statement by the Norwegian Refugee Council's country director in Libya, Dax Roque, on the latest tragedy of migrants dying in the Mediterranean.

"Another 11 migrants drowned yesterday off the coast of Libya, bringing the total number of lives lost while attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea to more than 600 in 2021 alone.

This tragedy and those before were completely avoidable, had Europe stepped up and allowed rescue missions to bring migrants and refugees to safety, rather than shifting responsibility to others. Hundreds of migrants were intercepted at sea by the Libyan Coast Guard in the last week, including another 95 migrants yesterday.

Libya is not currently a safe place for this community. More than half a million migrants, refugees and asylum seekers are in Libya, many living in dire conditions. Migrants, refugees and asylum seekers are amongst the most vulnerable people in Libya and face arbitrary detention in inhumane conditions, exploitation, kidnapping, sexual violence, high rates of torture, disappearances, extortion, amongst other abuses. Meanwhile safe and legal pathways to reach Europe are practically non-existent, pushing them to risk their lives in this way. With summer on the horizon, we expect more people to take this perilous journey."