UNITED NATIONS, July 26 (Xinhua) -- UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is deeply saddened by the news that some 150 refugees and migrants died after the boats they were in capsized off the coast of Libya on July 25, a UN spokesman said on Friday.
Farhan Haq, deputy spokesman for Guterres, said in a statement that the UN chief is also concerned by reports that many of the survivors rescued by the Libyan coast guard were placed in the Tajoura migrant detention center, which is close to a military facility and was hit by an airstrike on July 2 that resulted in more than 50 deaths.
The UN chief reiterates that Libya is not a safe country of asylum and that refugees must be treated with dignity and respect, and in accordance with international law, Haq said.
Due to the state of insecurity and chaos following the 2011 uprising that toppled the late leader Muammar Gaddafi's regime, Libya became a preferred point of departure for thousands of illegal immigrants wanting to cross the Mediterranean toward European shores.
Improved weather conditions increase the flows of illegal immigrants towards Europe, particularly off western Libyan coast.