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204 migrants drown in Mediterranean over weekend: IOM
July 02,2018   By:
July 2, 2018-- Some 204 migrants have died at sea off Libya this weekend, pushing the total number of migrants drowning in the Mediterranean so far this year to over 1,000 people, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said Sunday.
IOM said in a statement that two shipwrecks occurred respectively on Sunday and Friday, caused by smugglers taking migrants to sea in completely unsafe vessels.
According to the statement, from Friday to Sunday, close to 1,000 migrants were returned to Libyan shore by the Libyan Coast Guard, who intercepted small crafts as they made their way towards the open sea.
"There is an alarming increase in deaths at sea off Libya Coast," said IOM Libya Chief of Mission Othman Belbeisi, adding that smugglers are exploiting the desperation of migrants to leave before there are further crackdowns on Mediterranean crossings by Europe.
William Lacy Swing, IOM Director General, said that he will travel to the Libyan capital of Tripoli this week so as to see firsthand the conditions of migrants who have been rescued as well as those returned to shore by the Libya Coast Guard.
"IOM is determined to ensure that the human rights of all migrants are respected as together we all make efforts to stop the people smuggling trade, which is so exploitative of migrants," said Swing.
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