The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) has announced that more than 32,000 migrants were intercepted at sea and returned to Libya in 2021. The agency also said that 655 people died in the central Mediterranean while 897 others are missing.
In 2020, IOM recorded 11,891 returns to Libya. The significant increase in this figure is explained, among other things, by the improvement of the equipment of the Libyan authorities, which have benefited since 2017 from the support of Italy, which, supported by the European Union, provides the Libyan coast guard with speedboats to intercept migrants in the Mediterranean Sea. In a report, Oxfam revealed that the amount of Italian financial support has increased from €10 million in 2020 to €10.5 million in 2021.
The number of departures from Libya has also risen sharply since the ceasefire was signed in October 2020. Migrants in Libya face increasingly extreme violence, which forces them to leave the country at the cost of their lives.