A statement has been issued by High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini and EU Commissioners Johannes Hahn and Dimitris Avramopoulos on the shipwreck off the coast of Libya.
The tragic incident has been described the worst involving migrant deaths so far this year.
The statement reads, “We are deeply saddened by the tragic news of a shipwreck off the coast of Al Khoms where over 100 persons may have lost their lives. This is a terrible reminder of the risks still faced by those making this dangerous journey to Europe. Every life lost is one too many. Our aim has always been to prevent lives being lost at sea and we will continue our work to prevent these perilous journeys taking place in the first place.
“Our EU Delegation is in contact with the Libyan authorities, UN agencies and the NGOs to make sure that those rescued and disembarked receive protection and direct emergency assistance.
“Ensuring adequate search and rescue capacity, providing safe and dignified alternatives to dangerous sea-crossings to EU in the form of resettlements and voluntary returns out of Libya are essential to prevent further losses of lives and must be accelerated. At the same time, predictable and sustainable solutions for search and rescue are urgently needed in the Mediterranean.”
The statement goes on, “Libya’s current system of managing irregular migration and arbitrarily detaining refugees and migrants has to end and needs to be brought into full compliance with international standards.
“The European Union stands ready to support the Libyan authorities in developing solutions to create safe and dignified alternatives to detention in full compliance with the international humanitarian standards and in respect of human rights.”