On the occasion of International Migrants Day, EuroMed Rights is alerting the public to the continuing humanitarian tragedy in the Mediterranean. Since January 2023, the number of shipwrecks has continued to rise, and the identification of missing persons remains low.
The Mediterranean continues to be the scene of a heart-rending humanitarian crisis. More and more migrants are attempting the tumultuous crossing, hoping that Europe will offer them a dignified welcome because of the difficult circumstances that led them to flee their countries. Unfortunately, few of them reach the continent safe and sound.
According to the Missing Migrants project of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), 2,511 migrants have disappeared at sea since the beginning of 2023. This number is far lower than the reality. EuroMed Rights has listed several shipwrecks in its bi-monthly “On the Move” updates. One of the most tragic was on 26 February, when a boat leaving Turkey with around 200 people was shipwrecked off Cutro (Italy), killing 94 migrants, including 35 minors. Then, on 14 June 2023, almost 600 people drowned off Pylos (Greece) in the Mediterranean Sea, and on Saturday 16 December, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) reported the presumed disappearance and death of more than 61 people following the sinking of their boat off the Libyan coast. Between January and July, the Tunisian authorities recovered a total of 901 bodies off the Tunisian coast. Behind each of these figures lies a life lost and a family torn apart.
While a trialogue on the new Migration and Asylum Pact is currently underway in Brussels, EuroMed Rights denounces the European Union’s inaction to rescue people in distress on its own territory and demands an urgent and total reform of this Pact.
Sara Prestianni, Director of Advocacy at EuroMed Rights, deplores the fact that “States that can do so simply shirk their responsibilities by paying for walls and detention camps in border States or non-EU countries, with poor human rights records” and calls on European decision-makers to “focus on genuine solidarity, safe migration routes for those who need them, and adopting a system with the necessary care and investment to ensure that people on the move and host communities reap the benefits of migration. “
On this day of commemoration, EuroMed Rights expresses its solidarity with the families and loved ones of those who have disappeared. We urge the international community to redouble its efforts to put an end to this humanitarian tragedy.