IFRC Secretary General: Deaths at sea are an “unacceptable tragedy”

Publié: 30 mai 2016

Geneva, 30 May 2016: With the number of people migrating and making the dangerous journey to Europe expected to increase once again, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies has called for urgent action to protect the lives and dignity of people on the move.

More than 700 people are believed to have drowned on the Libya-Italy crossing in three separate accidents in the past seven days – the highest death toll on the Mediterranean migration route for a year, according to UNHCR. As the weather becomes warmer and the Mediterranean becomes calmer, the number of people seeking refuge in Europe is likely to climb.

IFRC Secretary General Elhadj As Sy said: “This unacceptable tragedy is another wake-up call for the world to commit to shared humanitarian values in responding to the migration crisis.

“People are risking their lives to find safety and hope every day. We must not accept this.

“Any solution must address the factors that push people to take the difficult decision to leave home because of wars, political instability, poverty and persecution prevailing in so many parts of the world. A journey in search of a better and safer life is turning the Mediterranean sea to a vast graveyard", said Mr. Sy.

“We urge world leaders to provide safe routes for people seeking sanctuary and refuge. We reiterate our call for all Governments and institutions to ensure the protection of migrants, and for all people to recognize their right to safety and dignity.

“For our part, we will continue to support all those who need our help.”

Along the migration trail, Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies are working to provide urgently needed food, shelter and health services. In Italy, the Red Cross is present at every port with doctors, nurses, interpreters, services to reconnect family members and, where needed, is treating deceased people with dignity and respect.

To learn more about the IFRC migration response, and to add your voice to the global Red Cross and Red Crescent call for the rights and dignity of vulnerable migrants to be respected, visit www.ifrc.org/protecthumanity.

For more information, please contact:

In Geneva:

Benoit Carpentier, team leader, IFRC public communications

Tel: +41 79 213 2413 E-mail: benoit.carpentier@ifrc.org Twitter: @BenoistC

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies is the world's largest humanitarian network that reaches 150 million people in 190 National Societies through the work of over 17 million volunteers. Together, we act before, during and after disasters and health emergencies to meet the needs and improve the lives of vulnerable people. We do so without discrimination as to nationality, race, religious beliefs, class or political opinions. For more information, please visit our website www.ifrc.org, or contact us via Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr.