“The EU and its member states are imposing a survival test on refugees and migrants. Unable to enter the EU through safe and regular routes, tens of thousands, desperate for asylum and a better life, attempt to cross the central Mediterranean each year. In the first nine months of 2014, over 2,500 people died trying – a new record. This must stop.

Through the testimony of survivors, this report documents the perils of the journey. It analyzes the long-standing shortcomings in the search and rescue services provided in the central Mediterranean and makes recommendations for their improvement.

Italy’s Operation Mare Nostrum has temporarily papered over these problems, but it is not a sufficient or durable solution. An adequately funded and appropriately mandated EU-led search and rescue operation is urgently needed to fulfil a shared EU responsibility. ”

With regard to the situation of migrants within Libya, the report states: “Refugees and migrants interviewed by Amnesty International described their stay in Libya before the sea crossing as an ordeal. All of those interviewed reported having experienced human rights abuses and violations at the hands of smugglers, militias and state security forces. Amnesty International’s research confirms that human rights violations and abuses against foreign nationals remain rife in Libya, including in immigration detention centres under the authority of the Libyan Ministry of Interior. Amnesty International documented arbitrary arrests, including of unaccompanied children as young as 10, and indefinite detention for migration control purposes by both state and non-state actors. Men and women reported torture and ill-treatment including electric shocks, beatings and whipping with cables.”