Tragedies highlight the need for more support and protection for people on the move in Europe

Publié: 27 août 2015

Geneva, 27 August 2015 – Two recent tragedies have highlighted the dangers faced by individuals and families attempting to reach safety in Europe. In Austria, dozens of people were discovered suffocated in the back of a lorry parked alongside a highway in the east of the country. Earlier today, in the Mediterranean, a Swedish coast guard vessel rescued more than 400 people from a small boat, but found a further 51 people dead on the lower decks.

These deaths increase the current total of over 3,200 people known to have died in 2015 on the world’s migration routes.

Preventing further loss of life is a collective humanitarian imperative. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) calls on all actors throughout Europe and beyond to ensure that the dignity of people on the move is protected at all times, regardless of their status. Those fleeing conflict, insecurity and persecution have a right to seek refuge and protection.

Increasing legal avenues for migration is essential to reduce risk and vulnerability of people on the move. Under current national laws, even those that are entitled to protection as refugees or potential asylum seekers have no choice other than irregular migration to be able to reach countries where they can seek protection. The absence of other options is a major factor contributing to the increase in tragedies such as those seen too often in recent weeks.

Austrian Red Cross supports vulnerable people arriving into the country in coordination with national authorities, by providing shelter, medical and psychological logistics assistance. In Italy, the Red Cross provides essential assistance to people on arrival in the south of the country, as well as those on the move towards the north.

For further information, please contact:

In Vienna:

Andrea Janousek, Media service, Austrian Red Cross

E-mail: ¦ Mobile: +43 664 544 46 19

In Budapest:

Stephen Ryan, spokesperson, IFRC Europe

E-mail: ¦ Twitter: @stiofanoriain ¦ Mobile: +36 70 430 6500

Linda Low, senior officer, communications, IFRC

E-mail: ¦ Twitter: @linda_low ¦ Mobile: +41 797 083 065

In Geneva:

Reeni Amin Chua, senior officer, public positioning and strategy, IFRC

E-mail: ¦ Twitter: @reeniac ¦ Mobile: +41 79 708 6273

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is the worlds largest volunteer-based humanitarian network, reaching 150 million people each year through its 189 member National Societies. Together, the IFRC acts before, during and after disasters and health emergencies to meet the needs and improve the lives of vulnerable people. It does so with impartiality as to nationality, race, gender, religious beliefs, class and political opinions. For more information, please visit You can also connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr.