By Linda Bordoni
Libyan authorities have reportedly transferred dozens of migrants who survived a deadly shipwreck on Thursday to a detention center near Tripoli.
Up to 150 others are missing and are feared to have drowned in the deadliest boat-sinking in the Mediterranean this year.
The UN refugee agency said the survivors were taken to the Tajoura detention center near Tripoli, located near the front lines of fighting between rival Libyan factions.
Earlier this month Pope Francis decried an air strike on the Tajoura center in which scores of people were killed and many more injured.
He called for the opening of humanitarian corridors for the safe passage of migrants most in need and has repeatedly asked policy makers for new legislation that safeguards the lives and the dignity of people fleeing war, persecution and poverty.
Following the latest tragedy at sea, many organizations that work with migrants and refugees have called for action, including the Jesuit-run Centro Astalli in Rome.
Francesca Cuomo, Communications Officer at the Centro Astalli, told Vatican Radio it is calling on national institutions and on the international community to put plans into place to avoid further loss of life:
Cuomo said the Centro Astalli expresses its deepest condolences for the victims and concern for the fate of the migrants brought back to Libya: a country at war and an unsafe port.
We therefore, she said, call on national institutions and European nations:
- To immediately restore search and rescue operations at sea;
- To activate a plan to evacuate migrants from Libya, where their lives are in danger due to violence and abuse that are daily practice;
- to provide legal entry routes into Europe for migrants who are now forced to resort to human trafficking in the absence of safe and regulated routes;
- To open humanitarian channels for those who escape wars, persecution and extreme poverty and have the right to ask for protection and reception in Europe.
“It is important,” Cuomo concluded, “to invest urgently in alternative solutions that protect people’s lives and dignity so as not to be complicit in these deaths”.