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Boat tragedy in the Mediterranean: call for investigation into latest deaths

“I am horrified that – once again – hundreds of people are reported to have died while trying to cross the Mediterranean,” said Thierry Mariani (France, EPP/CD), Chairman of the Migration Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), reacting today to news of a ramming incident which caused a boat from Egypt to sink east of Malta last week.

“There needs to be an urgent, transparent and thorough investigation into this tragic incident. If it is true, as reported, that the ramming of a boat by traffickers caused these deaths, those responsible must be identified and swiftly brought to justice, and the survivors given every support,” he said. “This incident is far from being the only one – UNHCR estimates that 2,200 people have died or gone missing since the start of June. That is an unacceptable toll.”

Mr Mariani continued: “Europe must take urgent steps to dismantle the trafficking and smuggling networks that are putting so many lives at risk, and tackle the mafia groups that are increasingly behind this deadly trade in human beings. Irakli Chikovani (Georgia, ALDE), who is preparing a report for the committee on organised crime and migrants, will look into this in greater depth soon.”

“Finally, we need to find safe and legal ways for people who are fleeing violence and persecution to seek asylum in Europe,” he concluded.