ISTANBUL: At least seven migrants were found dead on an island off the western Turkish coastal town of Cesme on Tuesday, Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya said, adding that search and rescue efforts continued for one missing person.

Turkiye’s coastguard arrived at the scene after a fishing boat in the area raised the alarm at 10:47am (0747 GMT) and 19 migrants were rescued, Yerlikaya said on the X social media platform. “One helicopter, four coastguard vessels and a diving team were involved in the search and rescue operation”, he added.

Meanwhile, the UN human rights chief said on Tuesday that his office was following up on reports of a mass grave in the desert along the Libya-Tunisia border, after the bodies of at least 65 migrants were found at another site this year.

Volker Turk denounced widespread violations against migrants and refugees in Libya, which straddles a dangerous transit route through the Sahara Desert and across the southern Mediterranean.

Abuses against migrants were being “perpetrated at scale, with impunity” by both state and non-state actors, Turk said, listing crimes including human trafficking, torture, forced labour, extortion, starvation, detention and mass expulsions.

Published in Dawn, July 10th, 2024

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