In the first half of 2021, some 13,000 refugees and migrants crossed the sea from Libya to Europe (Italy and Malta), a 140 per cent increase compared to the same period in 2020. As in previous years, many of those taking this route had international protection needs or other specific needs on account of their personal circumstances or experiences during the journey, including in Libya, due to being unaccompanied children or survivors of trafficking, gender-based violence, torture or shipwrecks.
In addition, some 14,700 refugees and migrants who departed from Libya by sea were also disembarked in Libya in the first half of 2021, mostly following interceptions or rescues by the Libyan Coast Guard. UNHCR continues to advise against returns to Libya, which is not a safe place for disembarkation.
ARRIVALS IN ITALY AND MALTA
Some 12,750 refugees and migrants have arrived in Italy from Libya so far in 2021, two and a half times the number who arrived in the same period last year. This includes 3,000 persons who arrived in June 2021. So far this year, 62 per cent of all sea arrivals in Italy had departed from Libya.
A further 250 refugees and migrants disembarked in Malta so far in 2021, an 86 per cent decrease compared to the same period last year. Most of these persons arrived between April and June this year (only 65 in February).
NATIONALITIES AND DEMOGRAPHIC INFORMATION
According to available information, Bangladeshis, Eritreans and Sudanese have been the primary nationality groups of arrivals in Italy and Malta from Libya so far in 2021. Some 72 per cent of all arrivals so far have been men, 24 per cent children (most of them unaccompanied) and 4 per cent women.
This, however, does not always accurately represent the primary nationalities departing from the Libyan coast, for instance, Sudanese, Bangladeshis and Malians have been the primary nationality groups disembarked in Libya so far this year.