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Stop mass deaths in the Mediterranean

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Stop mass deaths in the Mediterranean
Photo: Greek defence ministry/DPA
14:59 CEST+02:00
After a boat with more than 900 people on board sank off the Libyan coast on Sunday, Amnesty International's General Secretary for Germany Selmin Çalışkan calls for change in Europe's Mediterranean policy.

EU governments must act immediately and finally start a collective sea rescue operation now.

We need decisive action, not public displays of emotion without consequences.

Last year EU governments decided not to continue the successful 'Mare Nostrum' sea rescue operation.

That means that all EU heads of governments, including Angela Merkel, share the responsibility for the mass deaths in the Mediterranean, since new shipwrecks were foreseeable after this decision.

The EU must again start a sea rescue operation like 'Mare Nostrum' with the active support of the German federal government.

The EU can't leave Italy in the lurch again. A new sea rescue operation should be supported with personnel, helicopters, ships and money from other member states to save people from certain death in the name of the whole EU.

As long as this does not happen, the Mediterranean will remain a death strip on the southern border of Europe.

It's hypocritical of governments to just point the finger at unscrupulous people-smugglers. Europe's policy of walling itself in leaves people no other choice than to leave themselves in the hands of smugglers.

Along with sea rescue, there must finally be legal ways for refugees to reach Europe. If the EU does its work here, the smugglers will be out of a job.

Most boat refugees come from countries like Syria, Eritrea, Somalia or Afghanistan. They are fleeing unbearable situations, to get away from persecution, war and violence.

They must have a chance to seek protection in Europe.

This article, translated by The Local from German, is re-published with kind permission from Amnesty International. 

 

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