The EU's efforts to stop people smuggling from Libya to Europe across the Mediterranean sea have failed, a cross-party group of peers said on Wednesday 12 July.

The House of Lords' EU External Affairs Sub-Committee, chaired by Conservative Baroness Sandip Verma, found that an unintended consequence of Operation Sophia's destruction of smugglers' boats has been that migrants are now launched in unseaworthy vessels.

This has resulted in an increase in deaths, with 2,150 migrants drowning between January and July this year. In comparison, 2,876 migrants died attempting to cross the same route in 2015.

But the group of peers did report that Operation Sophia vessels, including Royal Navy boats, have rescued over 33,000 people since the inception of the mission in 2015.

"Operation Sophia has failed to meet the objective of its mandate – to disrupt the business model of people smuggling. It should not be renewed," Verma said.

"However it has been a humanitarian success, and it is critical that the EU's lifesaving search and rescue work continues, but using more suitable, non-military, vessels.

"Future UK and EU action should focus on tackling people smuggling in source and transit countries, and supporting sustainable economic development and good governance in these countries."

The committee also raised concerns about "serious abuses" of the human rights of migrants by the Libyan coastguard, allegations the Libyan government have vehemently denied.

"We ask the government to provide us with its assessment of the extent to which the human rights elements of Operation Sophia's training packages are likely to improve the treatment of migrants by the Libyan coastguard," Verma said.

The damning report comes after British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson visited Tripoli in May.

"Libya's political and social groups need to seize the momentum offered by the welcome meeting between [Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj] and [head of the Libyan National Army Marshall Khalifa Heftar] earlier this week to set out a path towards Libyan reconciliation and unity," he said.

"Security, stability and prosperity can only be achieved when the country's leaders choose to get together and work out a plan for the common benefit of the Libyan people. Establishing effective governance is also the key to defeating terrorism in Libya and countering illegal migration."

What is Operation Sophia?

The European Union rebranded its naval operation in the Mediterranean in 2015, replacing its previous mission Operation Triton with Operation Sophia.

The change in name represents both a cosmetic change to the EU's naval operation against people smugglers but also marks its transition from a reconnaissance and rescue mission to one that will "search, seize and divert vessels suspected of being used for human smuggling or trafficking on the high seas".

Operation Triton, orchestrated from Rome and working predominantly against criminal gangs in Libya, was named to complement its sister mission Operation Poseidon, working in Greece and the Aegean. Triton was the Roman god of the sea and Poseidon the Greek.

Operation Sophia has been named more sentimentally than its predecessors. Operation Sophia was named after a baby born on a German frigate to a rescued Somali woman in August. Sophia now represents the second phase of the Rome-operated mission launched on 22 June 2015.