World

The Latest: Libya called 'not a safe port' for migrants

The Latest on Europe's response to the large numbers of refugees and economic migrants hoping to reach and establish new lives on the continent (all times local):

8:55 p.m.

A Doctors Without Borders official says forcing migrants at sea to return to Libya violates international law.

The nonprofit group's Italy director, Gabriele Eminente, said Monday that the north African nation is unsafe for migrants. Eminente alleged they are at risk for malnutrition and mistreatment in detention camps.

Doctors Without Borders is one of several humanitarian organizations that have suspended their work rescuing migrants in the Mediterranean Sea due to what they describe as threats from the Libyan coast guard.

Eminente says Libya is "not a safe port" for African migrants who went there seeking transport to Europe. He says "violence and torture is extremely common" in overcrowded detention camps.

Italy has sent a naval mission to help Libya's coast guard with patrols, hoping to reduce the number of migrants brought to Italian ports.

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1:35 p.m.

Pope Francis is praising acceptance for migrants as a way to show brotherhood, even as Europe's welcome mat wears thin.

Francis sent a message Monday to a diocesan-organized conference in southern Italy promoting brotherhood in the Mediterranean area.

He encouraged Christians, young people and "all persons of good will to consider the presence of migrants an opportunity for human growth, encounter and dialogue" as well as an opportunity to practice charity.

In the last few years, Italy has taken on hundreds of thousands of asylum-seekers, many of them economic migrants, who were rescued at sea from smugglers' boats setting out from Libya's coast. Several European countries have refused to follow EU-assigned quotas to distribute the migrants. Many Italian politicians acknowledge Italy's patience for caring for migrants is fraying.