Today, the European Parliament has voted against a resolution supporting more search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean.
Reacting to the news, Oxfam's EU migration policy advisor Raphael Shilhav said:
"More than 1,000 women, men and children have drowned or gone missing in the Mediterranean this year alone. Europe should do everything it can to prevent further tragedies. People crossing the sea to Europe are fleeing torture, detention, slavery and sexual violence in Libya. While people continue to make these treacherous journeys across the Mediterranean there is a need for sustained and coordinated search and rescue operations.
"Europe needs more and better search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean to save people's lives. It also needs to suspend its shameful cooperation with the Libyan coastguard which sends people saved at sea back into detention and abuse."
Notes to editors
- In 2019 alone, at least 1,078 migrants have died or gone missing according to the UN while trying to reach safety and dignity in Europe.
- Italy has struck an EU-backed deal with Libya to support the Libyan coastguard. People who flee the horrors of Libya and are intercepted by the costguard are regularly sent back to arbitrary detention in Libyan camps, exposed to torture, hunger and slavery. Oxfam calls on the EU and Italy to stop their cooperation with the Libyan coastguard. Europe should also create safe and regular routes that allow migrants reach safety and dignity without risking their lives.