Senator Tineke Strik, rapporteur of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) has expressed her great sadness and anger over the deaths of another 54 boat people fleeing Libya towards Italy.
“Yet again, a dinghy with 55 people on board drifted for 15 days on the Mediterranean. This time, only one person survived. When will this ever end? Lives lost in the Mediterranean Sea: who is responsible?” she asked.
She said that since it is still not safe in Libya, the boats will continue to arrive. “Europe knows that. I had hoped my report on the ‘left-to-die boat’ would serve as an eye-opener to prevent such tragedies happening time and time again. States must never hesitate to undertake immediate action to rescue people, even if they think someone else should be responsible: every minute counts,” said Senator Strik.
She urged all governments in Europe, and not only in the countries on the southern shores of Europe, to “react, and take an equal share in the protection of asylum seekers arriving from Africa.”
“It is all the more important that the resolution adopted by the Assembly in April this year is implemented and that the remaining questions are answered by NATO and by European governments. I am therefore now making public my most recent requests to member States and NATO, which remain unanswered,” she concluded.
The UNHCR estimates that this year over 170 people have lost their lives attempting to reach Italy by sea. Over 1,300 have arrived from Libya to Italy, and over 1,000 to Malta.