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Rapporteur reacts to Aegean migrant boat tragedy

“I am deeply saddened by yet another terrible tragedy that has taken place in the Aegean Sea, close to the eastern Greek island of Samos, where 22 people have drowned trying to make the crossing from neighbouring Turkey,” said Tineke Strik (Netherlands, SOC), PACE rapporteur on “Lives lost in the Mediterranean”.

Some 65 migrants, thought to originate from Somalia, were on board the vessel, which capsized and went down yesterday. Women and small children were among victims.
“I call on the Greek authorities to thoroughly investigate the circumstances of the accident, and the response of the coastguard authorities,” said Mrs Strik. “I note that human rights groups accuse Greece of pushing back migrants intercepted in its waters.”

“According to Amnesty International, 188 adults and children have died in this area since August 2012. These recurring tragedies can only be stopped through co-ordinated European action, which should include a safe passage for asylum seekers and refugees.”

In 2012, Mrs Strik led a PACE inquiry into an earlier tragedy in which 63 migrants fleeing Libya died after their distress calls went unanswered, the so-called “left-to-die” boat.