Calls to protect migrants’ rights and save lives

In April 2015, UK, European and international organisations responded to reports that more than 1,700 people are thought to have died so far this year attempting to cross the Mediterranean in unsafe conditions.

The EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) reiterated its call for a holistic, fundamental rights-oriented EU migration policy. For more information, see FRA’s March 2013 report Fundamental rights at Europe’s southern sea borders.

The European Commission published a statement on 19 April on developments in the Mediterranean.

A motion in the Scottish Parliament on 20 April ‘calls on the Scottish Government to urge the UK Government to provide help to the migrants who are trying to reach Europe on boats across the Mediterranean’.

An emergency European Union summit about the situation was held on 23 April.

Following the summit, two UN independent human rights experts responded:

The decision made yesterday by EU leaders overwhelmingly continues to focus on the securitization of borders. Increasing repression of survival migration has not worked in the past and will not work now. Destroying boats is only a very short-sighted solution to combating smuggling. Smugglers continue to skillfully adapt, as long as there is a market to exploit.

The decision to strengthen the capacity of transit countries to stop irregular migration on their territory, without offering long-term solutions and without adequate human rights guarantees, will only compound the abuse of migrants.

In April, the Refugee Council, Scottish Refugee Council, Welsh Refugee Council and Refugee Action proposed a protection-based response to the crisis in the Mediterranean.

Amnesty International published a blueprint for action on 22 April.

Migrants’ Rights Network warned that a renewal of ‘fortress Europe’ policies is not the answer to the refugee crisis on the Mediterranean (26 April).