Strasbourg, 14.02.2011 – Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, the President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), has expressed concern at the arrival by sea of thousands of Tunisians on the island of Lampedusa in Italy.
“History has a tendency to repeat itself on Lampedusa. The authorities must handle these arrivals with the necessary care, as those in need of protection must receive it,” he said. “Notwithstanding the need for action, there must be no mass expulsion.”
“It is necessary to understand why these persons are leaving and to tackle the causes, including the criminal networks which are exploiting the uncertainties in Tunisia,” the President added.
He called on the Italian authorities to fully involve the UNHCR, the IOM, the Red Cross and others to help deal with the urgent situation on Lampedusa.
“But it is also absolutely necessary that Europe share the responsibility for these people. Today it is Italy taking the brunt. Tomorrow it could be Malta, next week it could be Greece, in a year Turkey. All of Europe is concerned.”
“In this context, the EU Agency Frontex has an important role to play, but it must abide by all the maritime and human rights provisions applying to rescue and interception at sea.”