April 20, 2015

Amnesty International Acting to Save Migrant Lives.

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Update April 23, 20315: In an update of the recent migrant crisis, a confidential draft from the EU leaders summit in Brussels reveals that only 5,000 migrants will be allowed to resettle in Europe with large numbers likely to be repatriated.

The others who survive the journey and make it to Italy (150,000 made a safe migration in 2014) will be sent back as irregular migrants. This rapid-return program has been coordinated by the EU’s border agency, Frontex.

Sadly, despite much outcry for the international community, any major expansions of search-and-rescue operations across the Mediterranean will be foregone.

“The summit statement merely confirms the decision by EU foreign and interior ministers on Monday to double funding in 2015 and 2016 and “reinforce the assets” of the existing Operation Triton and Operation Poseidon border-surveillance operations, which only patrol within 30 miles of the Italian coast.” ~ The Guardian

In short, what EU leaders would like to focus on is identifying and capturing boats used for trafficking, (within International Law) and prevent more people dying at sea, while tackling the root causes of “human emergencies” as well as re-establishing government authority in Libya to address the situation in Syria.

Italy, Greece and Malta are on the EU leader’s agenda, to increase their emergency aid provision.

“Emergency teams are to be deployed to Italy to help register, fingerprint and process applications for asylum protection as refugees. Increased support is also to be given to Tunisia, Egypt, Sudan, Mali and Niger to monitor and control their land borders to prevent potential migrants getting to the shore of the Mediterranean.” ~ The Guardian

The situation of illegal migration is not one to disappear any time soon. Families are desperate to find peace and stability for their children. Hope in the form of a new start within a politically stable climate is on the forefront. There is no easy solution, but compassion for human life must remain as the driving force behind political will to create safe harbors and peaceful countries at large.

Between 500 and 700 migrants are feared dead after a boat capsized in the Mediterranean Sea last week.

The International Organization for Migration says this about the recent tragedy:

“IOM is calling for swift action from the European Union following the worst tragedy in living memory involving migrants crossing the Mediterranean from North Africa. Up to 700 migrants are missing and feared drowned after the wooden fishing boat on which they were crammed, capsized near Libya as a cargo vessel was coming to its aid. By late Sunday night, one of the survivors was reported to have informed Italian authorities that there may have been up to 950 on board.” ~ IOM

The European Foreign Council are to meet with “migration” on their agenda. We must act quickly to show that citizens of the world a concerned about the lives lost each year by migrants fleeing their countries.

Every year millions of people around the world are forced from their homes by conflict, persecution and poverty. Only a small proportion of these seek sanctuary and a better life in the European Union. But EU countries are increasingly determined to keep them out. In the last few years they have been busy building fences, real and invisible, that have raised the stakes for those still desperate enough to risk the journey.

Every year hundreds of people die trying to reach Europe’s shores. Countless others are violently pushed back at Europe’s borders or trapped in neighbouring countries that do not respect their rights.

EU migration policies are putting lives at risk.

But there are life-saving alternatives. Amnesty International has put out the following statement and call to action:

We are calling on EU leaders to stop the…human costs of the fortress they are building. We will ask EU leaders to protect lives and rights along Europe’s borders.

What do we want EU leaders to do?

• Strengthen search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean and the Aegean seas through a joint effort involving all EU member states.
• Provide more safe and legal routes to Europe for those fleeing conflict and persecution so they are not forced to take dangerous journeys in the first place and ensure they have access to international protection when they reach Europe’s borders.
• Stop cooperating with countries with poor human rights records to restrict migration flows into the European Union.

This is not an international tragedy, this is a human tragedy. Please raise awareness in your community.

Sign the petition so that together, we can make Europe’s leaders act now and put human lives first!

 

 

Author: Monika Carless 

Editor: Renée Picard

Image: Google images labelled for reuse 

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