With 8 000 desperate people being picked up in the Mediterranean in under a week, it is clear that we have a humanitarian problem. People will always try and escape miserable conditions, political and civil unrest, environmental disaster, and persecution. For them to drown trying to reach European shores and safety only indicates their desperation.
Jean Lambert, Green MEP for London said:
‘This is why we need greater search and rescue at sea to be able to prevent catastrophe. Riskier and ever more treacherous sea routes are attempted because land borders are increasingly restrictive. If safe access routes existed, we would have one way of avoiding this. Not everyone travelling in unsafe and dangerous overcrowded boats claims asylum, but whether they do or don’t we should not turn away from people who view the EU as offering hope and safety.
‘Many of us have been working for a long time for solidarity among the EU’s member states so that humane and effective rescue-at-sea, and land follow-up can be provided. We have argued for ways in which people seeking asylum can get safe access routes to the territory of the EU to lodge claims, and for countries to offer resettlement possibilities for recognised refugees.’
‘Another practical and achievable step is that all member states must be willing to contribute resources so that other member states, with main ports of entry on their borders, can cope. What is missing is political will and solidarity from across the EU, and all too often, genuine empathy – stop the crocodile tears and take concrete action. Until this happens, we can only respectfully remember the 400 people who died overnight, unable to find sanctuary in their home country, or at our borders.’