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22 Apr 2015
Rescued refugees and migrants wait to leave an Italian Coastguard vessel in Palermo, Italy. Photo: UNHCR/F. Malavolta
The European Union has been urged by the UN to take “bold collective action” to help the increasing number of migrants who are making the perilous journey across the Mediterranean Sea to Europe.
In recent days there have been hundreds of deaths of migrants on unseaworthy ships operated by human traffickers.
Daniel Dickinson reports.
More than 500 people were reportedly brought ashore by Italian coastguards on Wednesday morning, the latest in a series of attempted crossings by migrants fleeing instability in Africa and the Middle East.
It followed an earlier incident in which around 700 people died.
An extraordinary session of the European Council is being held on Thursday to discuss immediate responses to the continuing loss of life in the Mediterranean.
The UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon has written an open letter to the President of the Council.
Stephane Dujarric is Mr Ban’s Spokesperson.
“He urges the European Union to continue to take comprehensive and bold collective action to put an end to the humanitarian disaster at sea. The Secretary-General also says that “the safety, protection needs and human rights of migrants and refugees must be at the centre of the response.”
The United Nations says it’s ready to work closely with the European Union, as well as transit and origin countries to alleviate the immediate plight of migrants.
Mr Ban said the international community has a “moral imperative to act swiftly.”
Daniel Dickinson, United Nations