الأحد , أغسطس 16 2020

Europe 'must do more' for migrants

Local residents and rescue workers help a migrant woman after a boat carrying migrants sank off the island of Rhodes, south-eastern Greece

On Monday a boat ran aground off the Greek island of Rhodes

A Greek minister has said the “great powers” of Europe need to take more responsibility for the unfolding crisis in the Mediterranean Sea.

Deputy Defence Minister Kostas Isichos told the BBC northern Europe must do more to rescue and shelter migrants.

He said that Greece, Italy and Spain were working on a common position ahead of an emergency EU summit on Thursday.

Meanwhile, more than 500 rescued people were brought ashore by Italian coastguards on Wednesday morning.

The number of people attempting to flee war and poverty in the Middle East and Africa, particularly Eritreans and Syrians, has spiked in recent months, leading to huge numbers of people drowning in unseaworthy vessels.

The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) says there have been 30 times as many deaths so far in 2015 as in the same period last year and the figure could rise to 30,000.

Children gesture on a ship landing on the Sicilian coast

More than 400 rescued people were brought to the Sicilian port of Augusta on Wednesday

Also on Wednesday, Italy’s parliament held a minute’s silence for Sunday’s disaster, in which more than 800 people died.

Prime Minister Matteo Renzi then addressed MPs, saying he wanted asylum applications in Italy to start being processed by a “European team” and that more action was needed in countries where migrants originate in sub-Saharan Africa.

However, the UN’s special rapporteur on the human rights of migrants has said wealthy countries should agree to accept one million Syrian refugees over the next five years to help end the series of boat disasters.

“If we don’t provide any official mechanism for… [migrants], they will resort to smugglers. The inaction of Europe is actually what creates the market for smugglers,” Francois Crepeau told the Guardian newspaper.

Map showing the most deadly Mediterranean migrant routes

Special report: Europe’s migrant crisis

More on the Mediterranean’s deadly migrant routes

On Monday, the EU set out a package of measures to try to ease the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean.

They include an increase in the financial resources of Frontex, the border agency which runs the EU’s Mediterranean rescue service Triton, and an extension of Triton’s operational area.

The EU had been criticised over the scope of Triton, which replaced the larger Italian operation Mare Nostrum at the end of last year.

There will also be a new campaign to destroy traffickers’ boats.

Grey line

Are you or anyone you know affected by the issues in this story? Have you made the crossing from Libya to Europe? Send us your experiences.

We would like to hear your stories, you can email them to

Read our terms and conditions.

If you would be happy to speak further to a BBC journalist, please include a contact telephone number when emailing us your details.

شاهد أيضاً

COPTIC SOLIDARITY LAUNCHES URGENT CALL TO END CRIME OF FORCED DISAPPEARANCE OF COPTIC WOMEN IN EGYPT

A Coptic woman, Ranya Abd al-Masih (“servant of Christ”), 39, disappeared in Egypt on April 22, 2020, …