21/12 2020 –12/1 2021
- On 3 January 2021, 79 migrants were intercepted at sea and pushed back to Libya, while 8 people are still missing. In 48 hours, 340 people tried to escape Libya.
- IOM Libya reported that between 22-28 December 2020, the body of one migrant was found on Libyan shores. Around 11,891 migrants were intercepted at sea and pushed back to Libya in 2020.
09/12 – 21/12 2020
- On 16 December 2020, 126 migrants, among them 28 children, were intercepted at sea by the Libyan coast guard and brought back to Libya in detention, while the bodies of four children were found on Libyan shores.
24/11 – 08/12 2020
- 170 migrant have been detained by the Saharan Patrol Department in trying to reach the shores of Sabratha, the Libya Observer reports.
- On 24 November 2020, 150 Ghanaians were “voluntary” returned from Libya through a charter flight. This was the first operation of this kind led by the International Organisation for Migration after the onset of the pandemic. Under the European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa, Libya accounts for 63.5 % of the returns to Ghana.
12/11 – 23/11 2020
- Four deadly shipwrecks in just three days led to more than 110 deaths in the Central Mediterranean, including a 6-month-old baby. 70 bodies have been recovered on the Libyan shores near al-Khums. According to IOM Libya, between 10 and 16 November 2020, 409 migrants were intercepted at sea and returned to Libya. Around 900 people have died or gone missing so far this year in the Mediterranean. The UN Head of mission in Libya, Stephanie Williams, reiterated that Libya is not safe, and migrants are increasingly suffering from violence and abuses.
- As evacuation flights from Libya to Rwanda resumed on 19 November 2020, UNHCR warns that resettlements have been severely reduced due to COVID-19, with only 15,425 people resettled this year compared to 50,086 over the same period last year.
29/10 – 12/11 2020
- On 7 November 2020, the NGO Alarm Phone reported that around 100 people onboard a rubber boat are in distress at sea off Al Khums. They have been at sea for 3 days and no authority is responding to the distress calls.
- Between 2 and 4 November 2020, almost 1,000 migrants were intercepted and brought back to detention centres in Libya. Since January 2020, nearly 10,000 migrants have been intercepted and returned to Libya.
- On 11 November 2020, a deadly shipwreck occurred off the Libyan coast. The search and rescue NGO Open Arms rescued 111 people while at least 5 people died, including a 6-month-old baby. The situation on board the vessel is critical and many rescued people need to be evacuated immediately.
15/10 – 26/10 2020
- On 23 October 2020, the warring parties gathered in Geneva agreed to hold a ceasefire under the auspices of the UN Support Mission in Libya. This is an important step that could have an impact on the lives of millions of people in Libya.
- Between 20 and 21 October 2020, two shipwrecks occurred off the coast of Sabratha and Lampedusa, respectively. According to IOM Libya, 5 survivors were brought to Libya by fishermen while 15 people lost their lives. In the shipwreck off Lampedusa, 5 people are missing, including one little girl and a pregnant woman. The 15 survivors, presumably all Libyans, were rescued by Italian fishermen.
- In the same period, more than 70 people were intercepted and brough back to Libya by the Libyan coast guard.
- Senior Libyan coastguard commander, Abd al-Rahman Milad, known as Bija, has been arrested on 14 October 2020 in Tripoli, on charges of human trafficking.
- On 20 October 2020, the EU Observer reported on the “poor progress”, criminal and violent conduct of the so-called Libyan Coast Guards as highlighted in an EU internal report. This comes despite Eu declarations stating that EU funding to the Libyan authorities are helping migrants.
- Evacuation flights run by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) under the Emergency Transit Mechanism from Libya to Niger resumed on 16 October 2020. They evacuated 153 vulnerable refugees and asylum-seekers of Eritrea, Somalia, Sudan, and South Sudan.
- Between 10 and 11 October 2020 six boats were intercepted by the so-called Libyan Coast Guard and pushed back to Libya in over 48 hours. A total of 390 men, women and children were taken to detention. From the beginning of 2020, around 10,000 people were unlawfully pushed back to Libya in attempting to cross the Mediterranean.
- According to the EU Commission, in 2020, 65 million euros were allocated for the training of the so-called Libyan coastguard (without however specifying which of the “coastguards” are beneficiaries) and only 900,000 euros for projects aiming at promoting human rights. The establishment of the Libyan search and rescue area and its implementation are due to the Italian government’s pressures in 2017-2018.
- In a terrible escalation of violence against migrants in Libya, a migrant worker was burned to death in Tripoli, while three other migrants suffered burns and were severely injured.
- Italy-Libya: an investigation by the New York Times revealed how the Caprera, an Italian warship, which was deployed to Tripoli to help combat people-smugglers in Libya, stopped 7,000 migrants from leaving Libyan shores and prevented the smuggling of 700,000 cigarettes to Italy.