Rabat - While the European Union (EU) debates strategies for handling the escalating migrant crisis, at least 50 people are reported missing off the coast between Morocco and Spain.
Rabat – While the European Union (EU) debates strategies for handling the escalating migrant crisis, at least 50 people are reported missing off the coast between Morocco and Spain.
According to a report by Turkish news agent, Anadolu, the group is thought to have departed from Morocco for Spain on Sunday night. Somewhere on their journey, however, their vessel was hit by waves and capsized.
Rescuers found two men clinging to the “half-sunken” ship on Tuesday but the remaining migrants, thought to number approximately 49, were nowhere to be seen and remain missing.
If the deaths are confirmed, this would prove to be the largest loss of migrant life on the Mediterranean in 2017.
Amnesty International recently published a report highly critical of what it called “failing EU policies” regarding migrants and, in particular, a series of “cynical deals” concluded with Lybia. More than 2,000 people have died this year attempting to make the perilous crossing to Europe in search of a better life.
This latest incident comes at a time when EU interior ministers are gathered in Estonia to discuss the persistent migrant crisis and strategies for employing a newly-announced $92 million plan of action. The current plan is to direct 50 percent of the plan’s budget to Lybia to shore up its coastguard’s capacity.
International human rights organizations, however, aren’t keen on the plan due to a series of recent allegations that members of the“woefully dysfunctional” Lybian coastguard are working with smugglers and abusing migrants.
“European states have progressively turned their backs on a search and rescue strategy that was reducing mortality at sea in favour of one that has seen thousands drown and left desperate men, women and children trapped in Libya, exposed to horrific abuses,” stated Amnesty International’s European director, John Dalhuisen.
He explained that “Rather than acting to save lives and offer protection, European ministers… are shamelessly prioritising reckless deals with Libya in a desperate bid to prevent refugees and migrants from reaching Italy.”
“If the second half of this year continues as the first and urgent action is not taken, 2017 looks set to become the deadliest year for the deadliest migration route in the world,” the directoradded.
Dalhuisen stressed that “ultimately the only sustainable and humane way to reduce the numbers risking such horrific journeys is to open more safe and legal routes for migrants and refugees to reach Europe.”
With regard to this latest loss of life, non-profit Spanish Refugee Aid Commission (CEAR) agreed, issuing a statement which read; “Spain must facilitate access to asylum in the offices in Ceuta and Melilla to avoid more deaths.”