CAIRO (AP) – A total of 125 children bound for Europe were rescued at sea this week by Libyan authorities off the Mediterranean coast, the United Nations agency for the protection of the country said on Friday. childhood, adding that most were taken to detention centers.
The children, fleeing war and poverty on the perilous sea route to Europe, included 114 unaccompanied minors, UNICEF added in a statement.
“The majority of those rescued are sent to overcrowded detention centers in Libya under extremely difficult conditions and with limited or limited access to water and health services. Almost 1,100 children are in these centers, ”the statement read.
UNICEF urged the Libyan authorities to release all children and end the detention of migrants.
In the years since the NATO-backed uprising in 2011 that ousted and killed longtime dictator Muammar Gaddafi, war-torn Libya has become the main transit point for migrants fleeing Africa and the Middle -East.
“The central Mediterranean continues to be one of the deadliest and most dangerous migration routes in the world,” UNICEF said, adding that at least 350 people, including children and women, have drowned or have disappeared in the Mediterranean since January.
Last week, 130 migrants bound for Europe disappeared in the Mediterranean off the Libyan coast in the deadliest shipwreck since the start of the year.