Amnesty International has blamed "failing EU policies" for the soaring death toll among refugees and migrants in the central Mediterranean.
In a report, it said "cynical deals" with Libya consigned thousands to the risk of drowning, rape and torture.
It said the EU was turning a blind eye to abuses in Libyan detention centres, and was mostly leaving it up to sea rescue charities to save migrants.
More than 2,000 people have died in 2017 trying to get to Europe, it said. Interceptions by the Libyan coastguard often put refugees and migrants at risk, the rights group warned. It said that there were serious allegations that coastguard members were colluding with smugglers and abusing migrants.
"Rather than acting to save lives and offer protection, European ministers... are shamelessly prioritising reckless deals with Libya in a desperate bid to prevent refugees and migrants from reaching Italy," said John Dalhuisen, Amnesty's Europe director. "European states have progressively turned their backs on a search and rescue strategy that was reducing mortality at sea in favour of one that has seen thousands drown and left desperate men, women and children trapped in Libya, exposed to horrific abuses." He continued, "The EU must rethink its co-operation with Libya's woefully dysfunctional coastguard and deploy more vessels where they are desperately needed." Mr Dalhuisen stressed that "ultimately the only sustainable and humane way to reduce the numbers risking such horrific journeys is to open more safe and legal routes for migrants and refugees to reach Europe".