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Almost 1,000 migrants forced to return to Libya since start of year – UN

Almost 1,000 migrants forced to return to Libya since start of year – UN

Heavy clashes have spurred a growing exodus of migrants from Libya, but nearly 1,000 intercepted at sea have been forced back to the country since January 1, the UN said on Tuesday.

Since the start of the year, as many as 1,100 migrants have left Libya by sea, according to the International Organization for Migration. A majority had been sent back to the country and detained, AFP reported, citing the statement.

“At least 953 migrants, among them 136 women and 85 children, have been returned to Libyan shores in the first two weeks of 2020,” spokeswoman Safa Msehli told reporters in Geneva. “Most were disembarked in Tripoli and all were taken to detention centers,” she added.

Rights groups say Libya picks up migrants in the Mediterranean and brings them back to overcrowded detention centers, where many have been victims of abuse and forced labor.