Migrant Boat Tragedy Off Italian Coast an ‘Outcome that Flows Directly from EU and Italian Migration Policies

Please see below statement from Refugees International President Jeremy Konyndyk: 

“The deaths at sea of more than 63 migrants—including an infant and children—off the coast of southern Italy on Sunday is not an accident. It is an outcome that flows directly from EU and Italian migration policies that have made the Mediterranean routes more dangerous by design, in order to deter migration.  

Over the past decade, EU policy has pushed migrants toward increasingly dangerous migration routes while obstructing lifesaving rescue operations. This latest tragedy comes just days after Italy’s parliament passed a new law making it more difficult for NGOs to conduct rescues at sea. It also comes on the heels of Greece attempting to prosecute NGO staff for serving on rescue operations. 

Rather than deterring asylum seekers, these policies simply endanger more people and increase the risks of migrants drowning. More incidents like this one are inevitable.

If Europe can absorb millions of Ukrainian refugees when it chooses to, tragedies like this one should not be allowed to occur.” 

See Jeremy speak more about this tragedy on the BBC.

For more information, please contact Refugees International Vice President for Strategic Outreach Sarah Sheffer at ssheffer@refugeesinternational.org or +1 202 540 7029.

Cover Photo: The remains of the boat destroyed by the waves of the stormy sea in Calabria, southern Italy. Photo by Antonino D’Urso/KONTROLAB/LightRocket via Getty Images.