Operation Sophia, the EU's naval mission in the Mediterranean, aims to track down human smugglers and reduce loss of lives. Soldiers frequently end up helping refugees at risk of drowning.
Civilian sea rescuers have been threatened with weapons while trying to help refugees. World Humanitarian Day is particularly difficult to mark this year, writes Volker Westerbarkey from Doctors Without Borders.
Doctors Without Borders says "hostility" from Libya has forced it to suspend offshore rescues of boat migrants by its ship, Prudence. Libya recently told non-governmental groups to stay away.
Thousands of migrants have been embarking on a perilous journey to the Mediterranean - their fate is determined by refugee rescue ships and government policy in Europe. Who are the major players involved?
Italian authorities say they've seized a migrant rescue boat used by German NGO "Jugend Rettet" in the Mediterranean. It happened the same day Italy's parliament approved a naval mission to deter migrant arrivals.
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