Discovery of Mass Grave with 65 Migrants' Bodies in Libya

By IOM Press
Libya Discovery of Mass Grave with 65 Migrants' Bodies in Libya
MAR 22, 2024 LISTEN

Geneva, 22 March - The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is profoundly shocked and alarmed by the discovery of at least 65 migrants' bodies in a mass grave in Southwest Libya. The circumstance of their death and nationalities remains unknown, but it is believed that they died in the process of being smuggled through the desert.

“Each report of a missing migrant or a loss of life represents a grieving family searching for answers about their loved ones or acknowledging the tragedy of the loss,” said an IOM Spokesperson. “The cost of inadequate action is evident in the increasing human deaths and the disturbing conditions migrants find themselves in.”

This latest tragedy highlights the urgent need to address the challenges of irregular migration including through a coordinated response to the smuggling of migrants and trafficking in persons. Without regular pathways that provide opportunities for legal migration, such tragedies will continue to be a feature along this route.

IOM appreciates that the Libyan authorities are investigating these deaths and calls on them together with UN partner agencies to ensure a dignified recovery, identification and transfer of the remains of the deceased migrants, and appropriately notifying and assisting their families. 

According to the Missing Migrants Project, at least 3,129 deaths and disappearances have been recorded in 2023 along the Mediterranean route – the deadliest migratory route, not including this latest incident. 

IOM in Libya works to provide humanitarian assistance to all vulnerable individuals in need and to capacitate actors to carry out life-saving search and rescue activities in the desert in accordance with international law through training on human rights obligations and ensuring that their border management operations are protection-oriented to assist the most vulnerable.

IOM further calls on all governments and authorities along the route to enhance regional cooperation to ensure the safety and protection of migrants, regardless of their status and across all stages of their journeys.