This 19 April 2015 video is called Boat sinking: Mediterranean’s ‘worst’ boat tragedy sees hundreds of migrants drown off Libyan coast.
EU holds crisis talks as bodies of drowned migrants arrive in Malta. European governments, divided over how to respond to migrant boat tragedies, convene as reports suggest death toll from weekend capsizing in Mediterranean could reach 950: here.
From daily The Morning Star in Britain:
A senselessly cruel policy
Monday 20th April 2015
HOW many more desperate people have to drown in the Mediterranean before the European Union and its member states rethink their callous sink-or-swim policy towards refugees?
Around 3,500 men, women and children perished last year and the weekend tragedy has pushed this year’s total up to half that already and we’re still in April.
The EU ended its Mare Nostrum rescue operation last October after some states claimed in was unaffordable.
The operation cost just under £10 million a month, deploying rescue vessels across the Mediterranean, whereas its successor Triton, run by the EU border agency Frontex, has a monthly budget of less than a third of that.
Some squalid politicians, including the Tory Party leadership, complained that acting to save refugees from a watery grave served to entice more people to seek a future in Europe.
Home Secretary Theresa May, who once argued that the Tories had to work to eradicate their reputation as the “nasty” party, exemplified that epithet in insisting that removal of the salvation flotilla would provide a deterrent for would-be migrants.
Her response, echoed by David Cameron, revealed that the Tories were content to see thousands of Africans, Asians and Arabs drown than to contemplate offering them sanctuary in Europe.
Ed Miliband accused the Cameron government last October of combining “callousness with incompetence” on immigration policy.
“They don’t show basic humanity and say rescuing drowning people is a pull factor for immigration,” he said.
The Tories were able to drive through this inhuman policy because of a concerted campaign of demonisation against refugees by right-wing media and politicians.
Lurid headlines about Europe and Britain being “under siege” or facing a “flood” of economic migrants transform people fleeing wars, societal fragmentation and plummeting living standards into an invading army.
Refugee Council chief executive Maurice Wren accused the government then of being “oblivious to the fact that the world is in the grip of the greatest refugee crisis since the second world war.
“People fleeing atrocities will not stop coming of we stop throwing them life rings. Boarding a rickety boat in Libya will remain a seemingly rational decision if you’re running for your life and your country is in flames.”
Our government accuses people-smugglers in Libya of wilfully gambling with refugees’ lives by cramming them into unseaworthy boats, but it ignores its own responsibility for the current chaos in that country.
The decision by Cameron and French president Nicolas Sarkozy to bomb Muammar Gadaffi’s regine out of existence, leaving Libya in the hands of a plethora of squabbling armed militias, has left people-smuggling gangs free from any control.
Other wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Somalia, South Sudan, Chad and several localised emergencies in response to al-Qaida or Islamic State-inspired revolts have convinced people of the vital need to seek a new life in Europe.
European states – especially the British and French former colonial powers – and their US allies continue to spread turmoil through armed intervention and aggressive weaponry trafficking.
If they directed half their enthusiasm for military solutions towards activities to boost fair trade and economic development, they might encourage people to believe [in] their chances of a better life at home.
But their first priority has to be investment in a humanitarian intervention to ensure that there are sufficient rescue vessels in the Mediterranean to save the lives of thousands of innocent refugees from violence and hardship.
Another horrific tragedy has befallen refugees fleeing Northern Africa to reach Europe via the Mediterranean Sea. On Sunday morning, a small boat capsized about 120 miles south of the Italian island of Lampedusa. As many as 700 people are dead. Rescuers are still seeking to recover bodies. The actual death toll may never be known: here.
OVER 700 MIGRANTS FEARED DEAD IN MEDITERRANEAN BOAT ACCIDENT Over 1500 people may have died attempting to reach Europe via the Mediterranean this year alone. The EU is holding an emergency meeting today to address the crisis. [Reuters]
A Palestinian boy who fled Gaza has told his harrowing story of being kidnapped, beaten, imprisoned and starved in his battle to reach Europe: here.
I was a Lampedusa refugee. Here’s my story of fleeing Libya – and surviving. By Hakim Bello. No one gets on those deadly ships to Italy unless it’s a last resort; and even if you make it to dry land alive, the dangers don’t end there: here.
The [British] government still opposes rescue missions in the Mediterranean despite 950 migrants drowning in one day: here.
A RECORD 137,000 people made the perilous journey across the Mediterranean to Europe in the first half of 2015, most of them fleeing war, conflict and persecution, the United Nations said Wednesday: here.
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