World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 

UN agency urges Europe to act to stop rising refugee deaths

UN agency urges Europe to act to stop rising refugee, migrant deaths at sea

24 July 2014

In the wake of recent tragedies, the United Nations refugee agency today called on European countries to take urgent action to stop the rising number of deaths among refugees and migrants attempting to reach the continent by sea.

According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), more than 260 people have died or been reported missing in the past 10 days after attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea towards Europe. The total number of deaths for this year amounts to more than 800 people, compared with 600 in 2013 and 500 in 2012.

“The death of 260 people in less than 10 days, in the most horrifying circumstances, is evidence that the Mediterranean crisis is intensifying” said High Commissioner for Refugees Antònio Guterres.

Mr. Guterres stressed the need for European countries to provide assistance to those who have been victims of smuggling and risked their lives to cross the Mediterranean Sea. He called on all governments to strengthen rescue operations, to provide swift access to asylum procedures for those in need of protection, and legal alternatives to dangerous sea crossing.

“Europeans need to take urgent action to stop this catastrophe [from] getting worse in the second half of the 2014,” he added.

UNHCR said over 75,000 refugees and migrants have arrived in Italy, Greece, Spain and Malta by sea in the first half of 2014. Among those, more than 800 individuals, seeking safe haven in Europe, have lost their lives. Most of them were fleeing from Eritrea, Syria and Mali, and many from North Africa, principally Libya.

The journey to reach the coasts of Europe could take up to four days depending on sea, boat and weather conditions. Refugees and migrants, in the hand of smugglers, have to deal with unsafe conditions. After traveling in unseaworthy and overcrowded dinghies, packed into a few metres of space, without food, water or life jackets, their journey often ends in tragedies.

The individuals who have been rescued and survived have reported disturbing incidents of mass drownings, suffocations and a suspected multiple stabbing.
UNHCR expressed its gratitude for all the efforts made by European countries, in particular by the Italian authorities, to rescue people whose vessels have been shipwrecked in the Mediterranean.

It also underlined the need for European nations to provide additional and better facilities to support those who have been rescued. It is necessary, said the agency, to identify longer-term solutions for refugees based on humanitarian needs, including facilitated access to family reunification.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Werewolf: Gordon Campbell On North Korea, Neo-Nazism, And Milo

With a bit of luck the planet won’t be devastated by nuclear war in the next few days. US President Donald Trump will have begun to fixate on some other way to gratify his self-esteem – maybe by invading Venezuela or starting a war with Iran. More>>

Victory Declared: New Stabilisation Funding From NZ As Mosul Is Retaken

New Zealand has congratulated the Iraqi government on the successful liberation of Mosul from ISIS after a long and hard-fought campaign. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Current US Moves Against North Korea

If Martians visited early last week, they’d probably be scratching their heads as to why North Korea was being treated as a potential trigger for global conflict... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Lessons From Corbyn’s Campaign

Leaving partisan politics aside – and ignoring Jeremy Corbyn’s sensational election campaign for a moment – it has to be said that Britain is now really up shit creek... More>>

ALSO:

Another US Court: Fourth Circuit Rules Muslim Ban Discriminatory

ACLU: Step by step, point by point, the court laid out what has been clear from the start: The president promised to ban Muslims from the United States, and his executive orders are an attempt to do just that. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 
 
  • Pacific.Scoop
  • Cafe Pacific
  • PMC