- The mass sinking of emigrants recorded on Monday off the coast of Libya in the waters of the Mediterranean Sea has resulted to more than 230 people missing, the International Organisation for Migrations (IOM) has confirmed. The migrants were reportedly heading to the Italian island of Lampedusa.
The IOM spokesman Jean Philippe Chauzy said the overloaded emigrants had left from the coasts of Libya, saying the rough seas and excessive load could have wrecked the vessel.
"Usually, overcrowded boats set sail without life-buoys, inflatable rafts with the purpose to upload as many people as possible, without any respect for their safety and dignity," said Mr Chauzy.
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guterres, said that the tragic incident is the latest example of this global phenomenon that pushes people to take desperate measures to escape conflict and persecution.
"Globalisation is asymmetrical. It is a paradox that while the money and goods move more freely around the world, the obstacles to keeping people and in many cases is increasing," he said.
According to IOM, Libya is one of the main routes of African migrants who go to Europe. Last year only, according to a report, around 32,000 people crossed the sea to the Italian island of Lampedusa.
Libyan officials said the north African state has become a collecting point for illegal immigrants who try to save money there to buy a place on a smuggler’s boat to Europe. In February, Italy and Libya signed an accord to stem the flow.
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