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The human tragedy in the Mediterranean: immediate action needed

Doc. 13764: collection of written amendments | Doc. 13764 | 22/04/2015 | Final version

Caption: AdoptedRejectedWithdrawnNo electronic votes

ADraft Resolution

1The Parliamentary Assembly expresses its utmost concern about the ongoing humanitarian plight of irregular migrants in the Mediterranean Sea. The dramatic increase in the death toll over the last weeks has become a matter of urgency which should be addressed without further delay.
2In 2014, the total number of irregular migrants who crossed the Mediterranean Sea amounted to over 210 000, including 170 000 arrivals in Italy. At the same time, 3 500 people perished at sea. Over the first three months of 2015, respective figures amount to over 30 000 arrivals and 1 500 drowned at sea. Regrettably, each day brings new dramatic reports.
3Much of the loss of life in the Mediterranean is due to the methods used by the smugglers who organise maritime transport: to minimise costs, the boats used are often unseaworthy, and to maximise profit, they are always severely overcrowded; basic safety equipment is inadequate or completely lacking; there is insufficient food and water available for passengers; and often the smugglers abandon the boat on the high seas, leaving the migrants to rely on their own minimal ability to navigate and the hope of being rescued by the public authorities.

In the draft resolution, replace paragraph 3 with the following paragraph:

"The lack of legal ways for refugees to move across Europe makes them dependent on dangerous routes and has already caused the loss of thousands of lives. Smugglers exploit the vulnerable position of refugees by putting their lives at risk. The boats used are often unseaworthy and, to maximise profit, they are always severely overcrowded; basic safety equipment is inadequate or completely lacking; there is insufficient food and water available for passengers; and often the smugglers themselves abandon the boat on the high seas, leaving the migrants to rely on their own minimal ability to navigate, and the hope of being rescued by public authorities."

4It has to be recognised that the present increased death toll is partly a consequence of the termination of the Italian search and rescue Mare Nostrum operation due to the lack of solidarity from countries of the European Union, which has not been living up to its responsibilities, and its replacement with the European Union Triton operation with a narrower mandate and much smaller human, budgetary and logistical resources. On the other hand, one cannot ignore the side effects of the Mare Nostrum operation which for many observers is thought to have contributed to the increased flows of seaborne migrants setting out from North Africa.

22 April 2015

Tabled by Mr Michele NICOLETTI, Mr Paolo CORSINI, Mr Francesco Maria GIRO, Mr Claudio FAZZONE, Mr Vannino CHITI, Mr Ferdinando AIELLO, Mr Khalid CHAOUKI, Mr Manlio DI STEFANO, Ms Maria Edera SPADONI

If adopted, amendment 4 falls.

Votes: 44 in favor 51 against 7 abstentions

In the draft resolution, replace paragraph 4 with the following paragraph:

"It has to be recognised that the present increase in the death toll is partly a consequence of the lack of solidarity by countries of the European Union, that have not been living up to their responsibilities, and have not provided adequate support for the Italian search and rescue Mare Nostrum operation. Due to this lack of solidarity, the Mare Nostrum operation has been replaced with the EU Triton operation, which has a narrower mandate and much smaller and inadequate human, budgetary and logistical resources."

5The sharp increase in the number of arrivals once again puts into question the Dublin Regulation according to which the whole responsibility for receiving and processing irregular migrants and asylum seekers is laid upon a limited number of receiving countries, Italy in particular, but also Malta, Spain and Greece, as well as raising questions about the relevance of the present asylum law and procedures.
6The situation is not likely to settle down in the near future. Armed conflicts and instability, persecution based on ethnic or religious grounds and extreme poverty in Africa and the Middle East will continue to generate large numbers of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers. Estimated figures refer to 70 000 people waiting for boats on the Libyan coast. Turkey alone has received some 2 million people fleeing the war in Syria and Iraq.
7The recent declarations of the leaders of the terrorist organisation known as “Islamic State” announcing their intention to smuggle their own people in amongst the flows of refugees, tasked with committing terrorist attacks in Europe, have raised legitimate questions about security.
8The recent tragic incident when, as a result of a fight which broke out on one of the boats, nine migrants of Christian origin were thrown overboard by passengers of Muslim confession, coupled with recent reports about the killing of 27 Christian migrants by the so-called “Islamic State” on the Libyan coast, raises very serious concerns about the threat of transposing religious and ethnic conflicts onto European soil.

In the draft resolution, delete paragraph 8.

22 April 2015

Tabled by Mr Michele NICOLETTI, Ms Tineke STRIK, Mr Andreas GROSS, Mr Reha DENEMEÇ, Mr Philippe MAHOUX, Mr Jacob LUND

Falls if amendment 6 is adopted.

Votes: 84 in favor 9 against 5 abstentions

In the draft resolution, paragraph 8, before the word "thrown" insert the word "allegedly" and delete the following words: "about the threat of transposing religious and ethnic conflicts onto European soil".

9The Assembly is of the opinion that the key challenge is to reduce the number of people setting off on a dangerous sea journey. It is crucial to identify and address ways to decrease migratory pressures in the countries of origin and transit.

In the draft resolution, replace paragraph 9 with the following paragraph:

"The Assembly is of the opinion that the key challenge is to ensure that no lives are lost, access to international protection is safeguarded, and that the root causes that make people flee their countries are tackled."

10The Assembly therefore calls on the member States of the European Union to adopt a comprehensive approach to deal with mixed migratory flows across the Mediterranean, with a view to carrying out an urgent and concerted action, and in particular to:
10.1strengthen, as a matter of urgency, search and rescue operations at sea, with increased contributions from all member States;
10.2adopt effective measures and co-ordinate common action at European level in the combat against human traffickers and smugglers;
10.3to review the Dublin Regulation with a view to sharing responsibility for receiving and processing irregular migrants and asylum seekers;

In the draft resolution, replace paragraph 10.3 with the following paragraph:

"review the Dublin Regulation with a view to sharing responsibility and costs for receiving and processing irregular migrants and asylum seekers, with quotas for their distribution throughout the European Union member States determined by each country's population and economic resources;"

10.4increase legal alternative migration channels, including resettlement, facilitated access to family reunification and other protection entry mechanisms advocated by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR);
10.5step up humanitarian aid and development projects in the countries of transit and origin with a view to improving standards of living in these countries and help to develop capacity and institution building in countries of transit and of first asylum with a view to alleviating migration pressure;

22 April 2015

Tabled by Mr Manlio DI STEFANO, Ms Maria Edera SPADONI, Ms Nunzia CATALFO, Ms Athanasia ANAGNOSTOPOULOU, Ms Vasiliki KATRIVANOU

Votes: 16 in favor 74 against 11 abstentions

In the draft resolution, at the end of paragraph 10.5, add the following words: "These activities should be mainly the responsibility of those countries which have directly undermined the stability of the affected countries."

10.6enhance co-operation, including administrative, judicial and investigative co-operation with the countries of origin and transit, in particular on the southern shore of the Mediterranean Sea;
10.7ensure access to asylum for those in need of international protection by introducing the possibility of external application processing and, to this end, thoroughly review, if necessary, asylum policies.
11The Assembly welcomes the 10-point conclusions of the European Union Council of Ministers of 20 April 2015 introducing short-term measures aimed at handling some of the challenges with regard to irregular migration in the Mediterranean and the decision to convene an extraordinary European Union summit today. However, the Assembly considers that the measures announced are utterly insufficient and expects the comprehensive European Union Agenda on Migration, due to be announced in May, to address the issues mentioned in the previous paragraph.