The United Nations security council has authorised European Union naval operations off the coast of Libya to discourage groups of people traffickers from smuggling migrants to Europe.
All members of the council with one exception voted in favour of the UK-drafted resolution: Venezuela abstained.
The British ambassador Matthew Rycroft welcomed the approval.
“These groups have no respect for human life. They exploit those taking the perilous journey across the Mediterranean. They overfill poorly maintained boats, ill-suited to such a difficult crossing. And, they abandon their passengers at the first sign of trouble,” said Rycroft.
The one-year operation will seize and dispose of boats operated by human traffickers setting off from Libya.
It will not cover the route refugees have been using to flee fighting in Iraq and Syria through Turkey, Greece and the Balkans.