A total of 70 migrants crossing the Mediterranean from Libya to Europe have gone missing, according to the independent support group Alarm Phone.
“A boat carrying 70 people has been missing for four days! They left Khoms, Libya, and repeatedly dialled AlarmPhone “It sent out a tweet.
“They were in the Malta SAR (search and rescue) zone when we lost touch, 11 miles (18 kilometres) from Italian waters, but no trace of their rescue or arrival has been found. Authorities are deafeningly quiet.”
Authorities in Malta and Italy were chastised by Alarm Phone.
“Why did the Maltese and Italian authorities refuse first to rescue, then to provide information on their fate? Were the 70 people left to die? Were they secretly pushed back to #Libya? We demand answers!” it said.
Tens of thousands of people seek to cross the central Mediterranean each year, normally setting off from Libya and aiming for the Italian coast, but it is often a deadly journey.
At least 1,369 people have died on the route so far this year, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said in early September.
On September 16, Alarm Phone reported that 45 people were adrift in the Maltese search and rescue area after fleeing from Libya.
According to Alarm Phone, although the relevant authorities were advised, they were unwilling to react.
Libya is not considered a safe port of disembarkation and last year, the United Nations said the North African country is “not a safe port for refugees and asylum-seekers to be returned to.”
According to international law, a country is forbidden from returning asylum seekers to a country in which they would be in likely danger of persecution.
Copyright: News Central TV
All rights reserved. This material, and other digital content on this website, may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from News Central TV.