UN Migration agency calls for stronger rescue cooperation, solidarity with Italy

Elias Hubbard
July 4, 2017

The plan presented at the European Parliament in Strasbourg envisages 35 million euros ($40 million) in aid for Italy and working with Libya and other countries to stem the flow of migrants at source.

Out of the 101,210 migrants, more than 85,000 arrived in Italy, nearly 9,300 arrived in Greece, and around 6,500 arrived in Spain. "We need to have other countries joining Italy and sharing that responsibility", Vincent Cochetel, the agency's special envoy for the central Mediterranean, said on Monday.

"Italy has shown an unprecedented level of solidarity with the refugees in the last couple of years", Timmermans told reporters at the parliament.

He said the Commission proposals, to be discussed by European Union ministers in Estonia's capital Tallinn on Thursday, were meant to reduce the pressure on Italy which has accepted some 85,000 of the 100,000 migrants who have landed in Europe so far this year.

According to the Commission, since January there have been 85,183 arrivals in Italy through the central Mediterranean route and more than 2,000 migrants died taking the risky journey.

The U.N. refugee agency is calling on the U.N. sanctions committee to extend worldwide sanctions on the sale of weapons to Libya to include financial and travel bans on human smugglers and traffickers responsible for gross violations against refugees and migrants.

In the context of the unprecedented refugee crisis, Africa has been on the EU radar after an EU-Turkey deal led to a nosedive in the number of asylum seekers coming to Europe via the eastern Mediterranean route linking Turkey to Greece. So far this year, the remains of 340 men, women and children have been found along the coast of Libya while this year over 10,000 migrants have been rescued in Libyan waters.

In cooperation with Libya, its neighboring countries, and worldwide organisations, the EUTF provides help to regain control over the EU's external borders, to break the business models of human traffickers, and to avoid the deepening of the humanitarian crisis.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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