Mass Graves of Migrants in Libya: An End to a Dream for a Better Life in Europe

Specialized search teams locate the bodies of the dead migrants (Criminal Investigation Service in Libya's West)
Specialized search teams locate the bodies of the dead migrants (Criminal Investigation Service in Libya's West)
TT

Mass Graves of Migrants in Libya: An End to a Dream for a Better Life in Europe

Specialized search teams locate the bodies of the dead migrants (Criminal Investigation Service in Libya's West)
Specialized search teams locate the bodies of the dead migrants (Criminal Investigation Service in Libya's West)

The UN human rights chief, Volker Turk, urged on Tuesday Libyan authorities to investigate reports of a mass grave including the bodies of at least 65 migrants found last March in the desert in the northwest of the country.

Hundreds of irregular migrants flock to Libya through the Sahara Desert and across the southern Mediterranean to escape to Europe where they dream of a better life. But many of them presumably die due to thirst and are buried in “mass graves.”

Three months ago, the Libyan Criminal Investigation Department (CID) said it recovered 65 unidentified bodies of migrants in Wadi Al-Jahria, located in the Al-Shuwerf area, southwest of the country.

The Department did not disclose any details about the victims. However, the National Commission for Human Rights in Libya (NCHRL) said the bodies belong to migrants who died while being smuggled across the desert, in Al-Shuwerf, southwest of the city of Gharyan.

Since the discovery of “Grave 65,” there have been no investigative results to clarify the truth of what the victims were exposed to in the desert.

Turk said on Tuesday that his office was following up on reports of a mass grave in the desert along the Libya-Tunisia border.
He emphasized the urgency of the situation, urging Libyan authorities to promptly respond to inquiries and conduct a thorough investigation into these disturbing developments.

Addressing the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, he said, “I urge the authorities to respond swiftly to our inquiries, and to investigate these crimes fully.”

Turk then denounced widespread violations against migrants and refugees in Libya.

A source from the Gharyan Prosecution told Asharq Al-Awsat that the investigations, which kicked off on Tuesday will take time to reveal the identity of the victims and the circumstances surrounding their death, saying they probably died during the smuggling process through the desert by human trafficking gangs.

Libya is a major launching point for migrants trying to reach the European shores through dangerous routes across the desert and the Mediterranean Sea.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) on Tuesday said that from 30 June to 6 July 2024, 598 migrants were intercepted and returned to Libya.



Israeli Military Says it Shot Down Missile Fired from Yemen

New imported cars are seen in a parking lot next to the Eilat port, Israel, June 12, 2018. Picture taken June 12, 2018. REUTERS/Amir Cohen/File Photo
New imported cars are seen in a parking lot next to the Eilat port, Israel, June 12, 2018. Picture taken June 12, 2018. REUTERS/Amir Cohen/File Photo
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Israeli Military Says it Shot Down Missile Fired from Yemen

New imported cars are seen in a parking lot next to the Eilat port, Israel, June 12, 2018. Picture taken June 12, 2018. REUTERS/Amir Cohen/File Photo
New imported cars are seen in a parking lot next to the Eilat port, Israel, June 12, 2018. Picture taken June 12, 2018. REUTERS/Amir Cohen/File Photo

Israeli air defenses intercepted a surface-to-surface missile fired from Yemen on Sunday, the military said.
It said its Arrow 3 missile defense system had shot down the projectile before it crossed into Israeli territory.
Before the interception, air raid sirens had sounded in the Red Sea port city of Eilat in southern Israel, sending residents running for shelter.
A day earlier, Israeli fighter jets struck Houthi military targets near Yemen's Hodeidah port in response to a drone launched by the Iranian-backed group that hit Tel Aviv.