Council for MENA affairs (ForMENA) expresses deep sorrow regarding the tragedy off the Libyan Coast which occurred on Saturday, 18th April, during which nearly 1,000 souls died in the course of a few minutes. Since January 2015, more than 1,800 migrants have drowned in the same manner. In 2014, over 3,419 migrants died in the Mediterranean, according to the UN agency for refugees. These figures are alarming, as is the indifference shown to such death and suffering in much of Europe.
ForMENA calls for the immediate action. We cannot remain silent in the face of this humanitarian disaster. ForMENA asks specifically for the “Mare Nostrum” search and rescue service to be resumed as soon as possible.
Moreover, we urge European foreign ministers, meeting today, to offer appropriate, humanitarian policies and put these into action as a matter of urgency.
We in Council for MENA affairs (ForMENA) emphasize our commitment to raising this human rights and humanitarian issue and will work with all available international, European and Arab organisations to highlight and respond to this tragedy. We will issue periodic data on this crisis until it is resolved.
As the table below shows, the “Triton” replacement for Mare Nostrum is entirely inadequate. The previous search and rescue programme must be resumed, with EU states sharing the burdon of funding.