The Malta Independent 11 August 2022, Thursday

TMID Editorial: How many must die before more action is taken on migration?

Monday, 22 November 2021, 10:32 Last update: about 10 months ago

The United Nations' migration agency said 75 migrants drowned in the Mediterranean Sea north of Libya earlier this week as they attempted to reach Italy by boat.

The International Organization for Migration reported the latest tragedy in a tweet on Saturday, attributing the information to 15 survivors who were rescued by fishermen and brought to the port of Zuwara in northwestern Libya. It did not immediately provide further information.

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The migration crisis has been at Europe’s doorstep for years, yet not enough is being done to protect the lives of those who feel they have no other choice but to risk their lives crossing the sea.

There are many aspects to the crisis that need to be tackled. First and foremost must be the safety of those at sea and preventing loss of life.

Secondly, the human traffickers responsible for sending these people towards Europe on unseaworthy vessels need to be caught, tried in court and imprisoned.

Thirdly, Europe needs a more united approach.

Also on Saturday, the Italian Coast Guard rescued more than 420 migrants, including dozens of minors, from boats in difficulty in the Mediterranean Sea.

Malta, Italy and Greece have long been at the forefront of the migration crisis. Some other EU countries have helped in relocations, but past events have shown some EU countries less willing.

Recently it was reported that a new EU Asylum Agency will have enhanced operational and technical powers to facilitate cooperation among member states and contribute to converging asylum standards. EU Parliament backed the deal and, once formally adopted by the Council, it will be published in the Official Journal and enter into force on the twentieth day after its publication. The new agency will provide operational and technical assistance to member states at their request. This will include, for example, helping to identify and register third-country nationals or by assisting national authorities to manage the international protection procedure - including in crises and relocation and resettlement situations - and more generally with the implementation of the Common European Asylum System.

Such support will be most welcome, but still more needs to be done.

Another question surrounds Libya. Is it a safe country or not? Some would argue it isn’t, and would say that working with Libya in its current state to stop migrants from leaving would not be the right thing to do.

This is also something that needs to be addressed.

Migration is a complex crisis. While returning economic migrants is one thing, ensuring the asylum of those who would be in danger if returned home is of the utmost importance.

One more issue that needs to be tackled is discrimination based on colour. This is often not talked about enough, but realistically, do we truly believe this is not a problem in Malta?

 

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