In view of the instabilities that plague Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East, it is feared that on Sunday 19th April, at least 700 migrants have died while attempting to cross the Mediterranean. According to UNHCR, in 2015 alone, 1600 migrants have died attempting fate in search for greener pastures. The majority of migrants head for the Italian coast, escaping the horrors of the war in Libya.
In the wake of what is considered to be the largest migrant maritime tragedy this year, EU members have met to discuss solutions to tackle the prevention of such disasters. Malta and Italy, being on the forefront of this problem, have urged EU countries to do more to help migrants willing to escape warzones and to intercept smugglers before they continue their nefarious bidding.
On Monday, a joint meeting of EU ministers chaired by EU High Representative Frederica Mogherini, presented a 10 point plan in order to initiate immediate actions to be taken in response to the crisis in the Mediterranean.
Nonetheless, part of the EU’s initiative is to also increase civilian and military operations in the Mediterranean, namely with the reinforcement of joint operations Triton and Poseidon, this will in turn push EU member states to increase their efforts in order to avert such disasters in the future.
EU countries have struggled to assess the issue of refugees and many are wary of foreign workers encroaching already failing European economic climates. This crisis will be a vital test in what is a crucial time for the EU’s foreign policy towards Africa and the Middle East.
In its call for renewed vigilance and the development of strategies to confront such evitable catastrophes, the Geneva Centre would like to present its own recommendations to all actors involved:
- The initiation of frameworks on the ground to build cooperation between actors involved.
- The development of strategies for emergency relocation procedures.
- Resettlement projects offering basic needs of migrants upon arrival.
- The deployment of liaison officers to nations which are affected by the crisis.
- The deployment of INTERPOL and FRONTEX affiliates in affected regions to combat the threat of human trafficking.
The Geneva Centre emphasizes the need for more coordinated efforts by the International Community to address one of the most important challenges today.