The international humanitarian medical NGO, Médecins Sans Frontières, aka Doctors Without Borders, announced yesterday that it had rescued 90 migrants at sea off the coast of Libya. The migrants’ rubber boat was “overcrowded and unstable”, tweeted MSF.
Among those rescued were two pregnant women and over 30 children. “The youngest child was only 2 years old,” added the NGO.
According to the MSF website, thousands of people fleeing violence, insecurity and persecution attempt to reach the relative safety of Europe by crossing the Mediterranean Sea, often on flimsy rubber or wooden dinghies. Post-Gaddafi Libya has been the main transit route to get across the central Mediterranean for the majority of migrants and remains the world’s deadliest maritime border.
Migrants and refugees are particularly prone to danger both before and during the treacherous journey as they face arbitrary detention, extortion, torture and even death.
The MSF has criticised the EU for failing to act to prevent or minimise the number of migrant deaths at sea. “Not only are European governments abandoning people at sea, they are actively supporting forced returns to Libya,” said the NGO. “In 2021 alone, more than 32,000 people were intercepted at sea and taken back.”