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119 illegal immigrants rescued off Libyan coast: IOM

Xinhua | Updated: 2020-11-09 12:22

TRIPOLI, Nov. 9 (Xinhua) -- The International Organization for Migration (IOM) on Sunday said that 119 illegal immigrants, among them women and children, have been rescued off Libyan coast.

"While IOM staff were at the disembarkation point to provide emergency assistance, we reiterate that Libya cannot be considered a safe port," the IOM tweeted later Sunday.

The IOM recently announced that more than 4,800 stranded migrants in Libya are registered with the Voluntary Humanitarian Return (VHR) program, which, run by the IOM, arranges the return of illegal immigrants stranded in Libya to their countries of origin.

Libya has become a preferred departure point for illegal immigrants who attempt to cross the Mediterranean towards European shores, due to the state of insecurity and chaos in the country following the 2011 ouster and killing of its leader Muammar Gaddafi.

Thousands of illegal immigrants, who were either rescued at sea or arrested by the Libyan authorities, are detained in the overcrowded reception centers in Libya, despite repeated international calls to close those centers.

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