Human Rights Watch (HRW) called on the European Commission and the European Union countries to secure a strong international search and rescue operation to be put in place in the Mediterranean and to support all rescue efforts made, rather than obstructing them.

In a statement, the HRW called for the ratification of international cooperation agreements to reduce the number of migrants disembarked in Libya and evacuate more individuals directly from Libya in order to protect them from a potentially deadly journey.

It indicated that from the start of 2021, not less than 185 people lost their lives in the waters between North Africa and Italy.