Another Shipwreck and More Lives Lost: Authorities and Social justice Movements Must Act

For the attention of:
The International Organisation for Migration (IOM)
The Gambia Government, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
National Human Rights Commission (NHRC)
Civil Society Organisations and Social Justice Movements

7th January 2023, Banjul the Gambia and Italy


Just two days into the new year another shipwreck off the coast of Libya in the Mediterranean Sea claims the lives of more migrants. According to reports by the International Organisation for Migration some 48 Gambian Migrants were taken after the boat sunk and returned to Tripoli, however, many have also been reported missing.

According to a letter written by the Gambian Association in Tripoli addressed to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) one of the missing persons is Mr Abubacarr Leigh who allegedly died after Libyan Coast Guards took him and some other migrants between “the period of 4:00 to 9:12 am at Tripoli seaport before referring them to detention center”.

The letter also notes that Mr Leigh’s body was taken to hospital mortuary by an ambulance and the remaining migrants were taken to detention center. Everyone knows that according to international reports and the United Nations themselves migrants in Libyan detention centres suffer from “unimaginable horrors”.

Given that this is a humanitarian crisis of international significance we call on the relevant authorities and civil society organisations to show the urgency required to stem the continued loss of lives at the Mediterranean Seas and the imminent danger facing survivors.

Given that the United Nations (UN) is already involved and aware of the situation via the International Organisation for Migration, the undersigned organisations remind the UN that the migration crisis is a one of global justice. People must have the freedom to migrate in a safe way but for many coming from destinations like the Gambia that is almost impossible.

The undersigned organisations call on:

  1. The UN to engage the European Union, the African Union and the Libyan Coast Guards to secure the safety of all migrants in Libya. Most importantly, to continue its efforts of providing a clearer image of the number of persons currently in detention, the number of people who drowned or passed away during the shipwrecks.
  2. The Gambia Government to make more efforts to secure the safety of its own citizens who are currently in detention in Libya. Collaborate with the UN via the IOM to visit detainees in detention centers to ascertain the condition of Gambian migrants in the custody of Libyan authorities who are more than those recently detained.
  3. Civil Society Organisations, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Activists and Social Justice Movements across the globe to galvanise their efforts in advocating for the safety of migrants especially those currently in detention. It’s up to us to pressure the authorities to explore every means necessary to bring justice to all victims of human rights violations.

Undersigned Organisations:

Team Gom Sa Bopa
Refugees in Libya
Mediterranea Saving Humans