(photo credit: JPOST STAFF)
GENEVA - West Africa migrants and asylum-seekers must be dissuaded from going to Libya, the main point of departure for Europe but where they often face abuse and detention at the hands of traffickers, the United Nations said on Tuesday.
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) appealed to donors for funds to provide "meaningful alternatives" for people taking dangerous boat journeys to reach Europe.
More than 110,000 migrants and refugees have arrived by sea in southern Europe so far this year, including 92,000 in Italy, it said. At least 2,360 have died at sea and an unknown number have perished in the Sahara desert trying to reach Libya.
"People should not go to Libya. We have no idea about the number of people losing their lives in those detention centers run by traffickers," Vincent Cochetel, UNHCR Special Envoy for the Central Mediterranean situation, told a news briefing.
"But when you interview the people in Italy, you just hear horror stories about people missing."