Distressing scenes of lifeless bodies of babies and toddlers washed up on a Libyan beach have surfaced online as the European Union’s role in the migrant crisis comes under fire.

The harrowing photos highlight the human tragedy immigrants face on Europe’s borders. The victims of the recent sea tragedy had been traveling with their parents on one of the many boats that left Libya days ago, according to reports. 

“I’m still in shock at the horror of these images,” Oscar Camps, the founder of Proactiva Open Arms, penned on Twitter. “These small children and women had dreams and life ambitions.”

Camps was among social media users to repost the photos taken near the city of Zuwara in western Libya, about 60 kilometers from the Tunisian border.

Flavio Di Giacomo, a spokesperson for the UN migration agency in Italy, cannot determine exactly when the victims had set off from Libya and what had transpired on the sea.

“We’re trying to get to the bottom of this with our colleagues in Libya. Many shipwrecks are never recorded. We can’t exclude that it may be one of those,” he said.

The images have been compared to the photograph of Alan Kurdi, 3, who hit the headlines in 2015 after he was found face down on a Turkish beach amid the worsening refugee crisis.

The United Nations Human Rights Office has long been calling on the EU and the Libyan government to amend their migrant rescue policies, The National News reported. 

It comes as the UN department's damning 37-page report titled “Lethal Disregard” released on Wednesday uncovered that EU member states have significantly decreased their search and rescue operations as they sought to offload responsibility to the Libyan coastguard.

Individual EU governments have also prevented humanitarian agencies from rescuing migrants in distress by impounding their vessels and targeting those with administrative and criminal proceedings. In some cases, migrant boats were rammed or shot at, causing the vessels to overturn or migrants to jump overboard. 

The report further suggested that the absence of human rights protection was "a consequence of concrete policy decisions and practices by the Libyan authorities, the European Union member states and institutions, and other actors".

The review, which labeled the migration crisis a “human tragedy on a massive scale,” revealed that death rates continue to soar in recent times and that about 630 people have died in the central Mediterranean this year alone while attempting to enter Europe.

Each year, thousands of refugees and migrants, many hailing from Africa, willingly undertake long and precarious journeys through Libya to Europe via small, inflatable dinghies for a better future, according to Reuters. Most migrants grapple with exploitation and abuse back in Libya.

In recent weeks, thousands of people have departed Libya and journeyed for the coast of Europe as people smugglers capitalize on calm sea conditions to propel dozens of boats, The Guardian noted.

However, many never arrive at their destinations.

Last week, dozens of people died following a shipwreck off the coast of Tunisia. In April, more than 130 dead bodies were recovered after a rubber boat capsized in stormy seas off the coast of Libya, according to Tunisian authorities.

Libya boats Harrowing images of dead bodies of children and infants washed up on a beach in Libya have emerged in recent times as the United Nations slams the European Union on how it deals with Libya's worsening migrant crisis. Getty Images