29.03.2021 – 12.04.2021
- According to the latest IOM Libya Report, 5,904 migrants were disembarked in Libya so far in 2021, 33 bodies were retrieved and 95 people went missing. In just one week between 28 March and 3 April 2021, 1,663 migrants were intercepted at sea and returned to Libya.
- On 8 April 2021, one person was killed and two others, of 17 and 18 years old, were injured after a shooting took place in a detention centre in Tripoli where migrants and refugees are detained.
- Abdul Rahaman Al Milad, aka Bija, one of the heads of the militias of the so-called Libyan Coast Guard who was arrested last October 2020 for crimes against migrants has been freed by the Libyan authorities, although he remains both under UN sanctions and under investigation by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity.
- 14 organisations, including EuroMed Rights, published a statement on the 10th anniversary of the so-called “Left to Die Boat”. On 10 April 2011, 63 people died after spending days in distress at sea between Libya and the Italian island of Lampedusa, despite the presence of 38 military vessels in the area. Despite the testimonies of the 9 survivors, several investigations and complaints before national courts, the crime is still to be recognised and those responsible prosecuted.
- Sudanese refugees in Libya protested in front of UNHCR office to denounce the violence they are victims of.
- On 30 March 2021, 85 people were left in distress at sea by the so-called Libyan coast guard: at least 5 deaths were confirmed.
10/03/2021 – 29/03/2021
- On 17 March 2021, another deadly shipwreck happened off the coasts of Libya, when a boat with more than 100 people on board who had left Libya went on fire. At least 60 people are missing and presumably dead, while 45 others were brought back to Libya. Alarm Phone published a timeline of the events and several survivors’ testimonies.
- According to IOM, almost 4,000 migrants have been intercepted at sea by Libyan authorities and returned to Libya in the first months of 2021.
- In its final report, the Panel of Experts on Libya stated that the arms embargo on Libya remained “totally ineffective” and “civilians, including migrants and asylum seekers, continue to suffer widespread rights violations and abuses”.
23/02/2021 – 09/03/2021
- On 1 March 2021, the Libyan authorities arrested the main suspects in the killing of 30 migrants in May 2020.
- More and more migrants trying to escape Libyan dire conditions are intercepted and pushed back by the so-called Libyan Coast Guard. Between the 2nd and 8th March 2021, 100 migrants were intercepted at sea and returned to Libya. On 26 February 2021, 151 migrants were intercepted and returned to Libya. On 28 February 2021, at least 15 migrants lost their lives at sea while 95 others were returned to Libya.
- On 24 February 2021, 41 deaths at sea have been confirmed who were on board the boat that was then rescued by the merchant vessel VosTriton. On 26 February 2021, Sea-Watch rescued 45 people in distress at sea, including 15 minors.
- On 22 February 2021, Libyan authorities freed at least 150 detained migrants and arrested six traffickers.
08/02/2021 – 22/02/2021
- Watch EuroMed Rights’ Migration and Asylum Programme Officer’s interview on Al Araby TV the situation of migrants in Libya.
- On 20 February, 500 people were intercepted and returned to Libya, while on 10 February 2021, more than 200 migrants were intercepted and pushed back to Libya. According to IOM Libya, in the period of 9 – 15 February 2021, 318 migrants were rescued/intercepted at sea and pushed back to Libya. More than 2,500 people were returned to Libya so far in 2021.
- From 26-28 January 2021, the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD) organised a workshop in Tripoli with four networks of Libyan civil society organisations working on migration, in the framework of the EU-funded project “Strategic and Institutional Management of Migration in Libya” aiming at improving the management of migration flows and the conditions of migrants in Libya.
21/12 2020 – 8/2 2021
- On 8 February 2021, the Italian newspaper Avvenire a recording from the Italian armed forces aircraft ordering Italian fishing boats not to enter Libyan maritime zone because of the conflict. Yet Italy asks rescue NGO vessels to take orders from Tripoli for returning migrants to Libya.
- On 5 February 2021, the International Organization for Migration in Libya reported that more than 1,000 refugees have recently fled “dire humanitarian conditions” in Libya. In just three days, nearly 1500 people were intercepted by the Libyan coastguard and sent back to the “country’s notorious detention centres” falling victims of exploitation, abuse and trafficking.
- On 4 February 2021, around 121 people, including 19 women and 2 children, were rescued by the NGO vessel Ocean Viking in international waters off Khoms in a first rescue operation. Later in the day, another 116 people were rescued, including one baby boy. On 5 February 2021, the Ocean Viking rescued more than 180 people, including 11 minors, on two boats off Al Khoms.
- On 2 February 2021, 5 NGOs, including the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies ( CIHRS), call for an investigation into allegations of denial to the right to health for migrants and asylum seekers in Libya.
- On 27 January 2021, UNHCR released its “2021 strategic action plan and funding appeal”, calling on States to do more to save lives of refugees attempting to cross the Mediterranean and to strengthen safe and legal pathways for refugees, including through family reunification.
13/01/2021 – 25/01/2021
- On 14 January 2021, Alarm Phone published its Central Mediterranean analysis covering the period July-December 2020.
- On 19 January 2021, at least 43 people lost their lives in a deadly shipwreck off the Libyan coasts. According to Alarm Phone, there is currently a huge rescue gap in the Central Mediterranean, with six rescue vessels stopped by authorities. Soon after the shipwreck, another 48 people were intercepted and returned to Libya by the Libyan Coast Guard. According to the National Commission for Human Rights in Libya (NCHRL), the number of people intercepted at sea and sent back to Libya in 2020 amounted to 11,891. Following the shipwreck, in a joint statement, four UN agencies, including IOM and UNHCR called on the international community to end the policy of returning migrants to unsafe countries.
- On 20 January 2021, UNHCR confirmed that all asylum seekers detained at the Zintan shelter, most of them for more than two years and in extremely dire conditions, have been released.
- On 22 January 2021, IOM Libya reports that at least 17 people died, including women and children, in a shipwreck off Libya and 82 people were returned to shore by the Libyan Coast Guards.
- On 23 January 2021, among the 250 people in distress at sea off the Libyan shores, 145 of them returned to Libya as their boat broke down. Alarm phone denounces the silence and inaction of authorities.
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.