14 September 2012
Europe must take responsibility to prevent migrant deaths in the Mediterranean
A briefing paper from Human Rights Watch (HRW) entitled ‘Hidden Emergency – Migrant deaths in the Mediterranean’ argues that the EU needs to take urgent action to address the tragic deaths of thousands of boat migrants on its shores. According to UNHCR, an estimated 1500 migrants died in the Mediterranean in 2011 making it ‘the deadliest year on record’.
HRW recommends establishing a framework for cooperation in rescue at sea and standard operating procedures for shipmasters as well as amending the draft legislation creating EUROSUR – a surveillance system to monitor the Mediterranean and North Africa – in order to include the duty to assist migrants at sea. Furthermore, it is advised that resettlement programs for recognized refugees rescued at sea should be put in place.