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Italian Interior Ministry: 393 migrants have been returned to Libya

Interior Minister Matteo Salvini wears a police jacket on 18 January 2019 in Afragola, Italy [Ivan Romano Getty Images]
Italian opposition leader, Matteo Salvini on 18 January 2019 in Afragola, Italy [Ivan Romano Getty Images]

It is believed that this includes about 100 migrants, who were classified by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) on Sunday as being in a crisis off the coast of Libya.

Salvini said in a statement that "the 393 migrants, rescued by the Italian Coast Guard, are safe and fine, and have been returned to Libya."

A human rights organization criticized returning migrants to Libya and described the move as a violation of international law because they are vulnerable to abuse and torture in this country.

In his strategy, Salvini prohibits charitable organizations that save migrants from reaching to Italian ports, prompting most of these organizations to suspend their work. This coincides with the high rate of death in the sea between Italy and Libya.

The UNHCR Commissioner Filippo Grandi told the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera that "the percentage of migrants who died while trying to cross the sea has more than doubled in 2018 compared to 2017."

Read: 3 dead after migrant boat sinks off Libyan coast

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