First modification: 07/27/2021 – 04:59
At least 57 people lost their lives in the Mediterranean Sea when they left Libya by boat, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) reported on Monday. It is the last shipwreck on the most dangerous route between Africa and the European dream.
“I am horrified by this new and painful loss of life from the Libyan shores,” said Federico Soda, head of the IOM mission in Libya. “At least 57 people drowned (today) in this latest tragedy. Silence and inaction are inexcusable.”
According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the boat set sail from the port of Al Khoms, about 120 kilometers from Tripoli, the Libyan capital. The North African country is one of the starting points for clandestine maritime routes to reach Europe.
In and of themselves, Mediterranean migration routes are the deadliest in the world, according to the IOM. However, the Central Mediterranean, the one that connects Libya with Italy, is particularly dangerous because of the 300 kilometers that separate the coasts of the two continents.
Horrified by yet another painful loss of life off the Libyan coast.
At least 57 people drowned today in the latest tragedy in the Central #Mediterranean.
Silence and inaction are inexcusable.
– Federico Soda (@fedsoda) July 26, 2021
“Survivors who spoke to our staff said that there were 20 women and 2 children among the crew who drowned,” added IOM. The organization stated that this latest tragedy “underscores the immediate need for a search and rescue device” on this dangerous route.
IOM data estimate that between 2013 and 2020 more than 20,000 people lost their lives in the Central Mediterranean. However, human rights organizations warn that the deaths on the maritime routes could be many more than those registered.
At the moment the reasons for the sinking were not clarified. Even so, the immediate causes are usually the overloading of the boats, the lack of fuel, the trips at night or in adverse weather circumstances, if not the attacks of the Libyan coast guard, trained and financed by the European Union.
The underlying reasons for the shipwrecks of migrants in the Mediterranean also have a common root: the lack of alternative, safe and legal routes to reach the European continent, as reported by different NGOs. Associations such as ‘Caminando Fronteras’ describe the migration management of the European Union as “necropolitical”.
As part of its policy of “externalization of borders”, the European Union finances Libya, as well as Turkey, Morocco and other states, to stop migration heading to the European continent.
These agreements have been criticized by different humanitarian organizations that point to the systematic violation of human rights suffered by migrants, in the countries with which the EU signs migration control treaties.
A United Nations investigation published in 2018 stated that “men, women, adolescents and children in official and unofficial detention centers in Libya suffer rape, murder, torture, arbitrary detention, group sexual abuse, slavery and extortion. These crimes are taking place under the apparent complicity of public officials and even representatives of various ministries in the country. “