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Lampedusa: European solidarity is needed to receive refugees in a dignified manner

boat / migrants / saving / lives

The Committee on Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons today made the following declaration:

Between 15 and 17 September 2023, approximately 8,500 migrants landed on Lampedusa. Most European countries stated their refusal to honour their shared responsibility to receive these people, with the French authorities, for example, saying that they would not accept anyone. Some political groups have described this arrival as a “flood” or even an “invasion”, although 10,000 migrant arrivals represents only 0.002% of the total population of Europe. The large number of asylum seekers on the island has created major logistical and humanitarian difficulties for Italy, with these people living in undignified conditions.

In Recommendation 2248 (2023), the Assembly calls for “concrete action by the Council of Europe to provide humanitarian assistance to member States in which high numbers of people have found asylum or international protection, or are displaced”. The lack of European solidarity is incompatible with the humanist necessity of receiving displaced persons and refugees with dignity. No irregular entry may be considered unlawful until each situation has been properly examined, in accordance with the right of asylum. A lack of human and material resources to fulfil this obligation of individual examination and dignified reception may infringe the rights enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights.

Member States must act together to provide the necessary resources to ensure that the law is upheld in the interests of both those concerned and the authorities. The Committee is alarmed by the racist and xenophobic statements made by several political figures in response to this event. It wishes to draw attention to the sobering truth that 27,364 people have been reported dead or missing in the Mediterranean since 2014. Everyone has the right to respect for their fundamental rights and dignity and going into exile means being uprooted for those concerned, whatever the circumstances.