Rabat- As many as 90 migrants are feared dead after a migrant boat capsized off the Libyan coast near the city of Zuara on Friday, reported the United Nations migration agency.The majority of the migrants were from Pakistan, three survivors have told aid workers. Two of the three survivors were able to swim to the shore, while the third was rescued by a fishing boat.The tragedy occurred when the overloaded boat carrying the migrants capsized, according to Olivia Headon, a spokesperson of the International Organization for Migration (IOM). In 2016, nearly 171,000 asylum seekers arrived in Italy via boats and rafts, according to statistics from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.In recent years, thousands of migrants, including Moroccans, have traveled to Libya in order to reach Europe via the Mediterranean. Many, though, remain trapped in dire conditions in detention centers across Libya. International outrage followed reports last year that some migrants had been sold in slave markets.In December 2017, several videos taken by detained Moroccans were widely shared on social media, revealing the horrific conditions they faced in Libyan prisons. The trapped migrants cried for help and urged the Moroccan government to take immediate action to bring them back home. Hundreds were eventually repatriated in December following the efforts and intervention by King Mohammad VI.
With the addition of the new arrivals yesterday, the advance team of the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) now totals over 30, Hiro Ueki said in Baghdad.The team is “hard at work” to get the Baghdad operations centre for weapons inspections up and running in time for the resumption of inspections on 27 November, he said.The advance team includes administrative staff, computer and communications experts, medics and security personnel. The first team of inspectors from UNMOVIC and the IAEA is scheduled to arrive in Baghdad on Monday.Meanwhile in the Netherlands, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan was asked whether there was a proper chance for diplomacy to work in Iraq. “From the accounts that I have received, it did go well,” he said, referring to the meetings of the chief UN weapons inspectors in Baghdad this week with senior Iraqi officials.The important point, Mr. Annan added, was that if Iraq complies with UN resolutions and the inspectors are able to complete their work, “then I think the arguments for military action will be considerably diminished.”Asked about a request by the United States to some 60 countries to commit troops in the event that Iraq does not comply, the Secretary-General responded, “It’s not up to me to advise the United States on how to prepare for certain eventualities.” He added that for now, the focus was on effective inspections.