TRIPOLI, May 22 (Xinhua) -- The International Organization for Migration (IOM) said on Wednesday that more than 4,255 illegal immigrants have been voluntarily deported from Libya to their countries of origin in 2019.
"So far this year, over 4,255 migrants returned home safely to 26 countries across Africa and Asia with support from IOM's Voluntary Humanitarian Return program," the UN-affiliated group said.
The voluntary humanitarian return program is carried out by the IOM, with an aim to arrange the return of illegal immigrants stranded in Libya to their countries of origin.
According to IOM, more than 16,000 migrants were voluntarily deported from Libya to their countries of origin in 2018.
Libya has become a preferred departure point for illegal immigrants hoping to cross the Mediterranean Sea into Europe because of insecurity and chaos in the North African country following the 2011 uprising that toppled former leader Muammar Gaddafi.
Migrant shelters in Libya are crowded with thousands of people who were rescued at sea or arrested by the Libyan security services.