Monday, 24/2/2020 | 8:49 UTC+0
Libyan Newswire

Written question – Escalating death toll among refugees attempting to cross the Mediterranean – P-004648/2016

The UNHCR has recently spoken out against the increasing number refugees dying while attempting to cross the Mediterranean this year in relation to the same period in 2015.

In the first five months of this year the at least 2 510 refugees — men, women and children — died, including 880 last week alone.

Today the rescue of 340 refugees off the coast of Crete, from a vessel which sank with more than 700 aboard, and the discovery of 117 bodies in the region of Zuwara, Libya were reported.

This is a consequence of the EU’s criminal policy in reaction to the so-called ‘refugee crisis’, which has entailed, among other things, a militarised response to a humanitarian tragedy by stationing a NATO fleet in the Aegean Sea. This is forcing refugee boats to take the Central Mediterranean route between North Africa and Italy and is, tragically, leading to a heavily escalating death toll, turning the Mediterranean into a mass grave.

Can the Commission therefore say:

What link is there between the EU-turkey agreement and these tragic events?
What is being done to safeguard the lives those of risking the Mediterranean crossing and ensure safe routes into Europe for refugees and migrants?