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UN: 125 children rescued off Libya coast heading to Europe

Refugees are seen after being rescued from the Mediterranean Sea on 15 June 2017 [Marcus Drinkwater/Anadolu Agency]
Libyan Coast Guards rescue refugees in Mediterranean Sea on 15 June 2017 [Marcus Drinkwater/Anadolu Agency]

The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) has announced that Libyan authorities have rescued 125 children destined for Europe via boat off the Libyan coast, confirming that most were placed in detention centres.

UNICEF disclosed in a statement that among the rescued children fleeing war and poverty via the dangerous sea route to Europe, there are 114 unaccompanied minors: "The majority of the rescued were sent to Libyan overcrowded detention centres in very difficult conditions, with limited or partial access to water and sanitation. Nearly 1,100 children are currently held in these facilities."

UNICEF urged the Libyan authorities to release all children and end the detention of migrants, adding: "The Mediterranean sea remains one of the deadliest and most dangerous migration routes in the world."

The UN body stated that at least 350 people, including children and women, have drowned or disappeared in the Mediterranean since January.

Last week, 130 Europe-bound migrants were lost in the Mediterranean off the Libyan coast in the bloodiest boat crash incidents since the beginning of the year.

READ: What is behind the thaw in relations between Libya and the EU?

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AfricaInternational OrganisationsLibyaNewsUN
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