UNHCR concerned over ending of rescue operation in the Mediterranean
This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson William Spindler – to whom quoted text may be attributed – at the press briefing, on 17 October 2014, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.
UNHCR is concerned over the announcement of the ending this month of the Italian operation Mare Nostrum without a similar European search and rescue operation to replace it. This will undoubtedly increase the risk for those trying to find safety in Europe, and could lead to more refugees and migrants perishing at sea. It is estimated that 3343 people have lost their lives this year while making such journeys, 2755 of them since the start of July.
UNHCR has welcomed Mare Nostrum, which has contributed to the rescue of around 150,000 refuges and migrants since it began a year ago as a response to two tragedies off the coast of Lampedusa, where over 600 refugees and migrants died. Today, UNHCR reiterates its call for Europe to commit more resources to rescue at sea in the Mediterranean.
It is critical that the long-established tradition of rescue at sea is upheld by all. UNHCR also recognizes the efforts made by many commercial vessels - this year alone they have contributed to the rescue of about 37,000 people. To the extent possible, such rescue must ensure minimal financial impact on the shipping industry. Predictability on places for the disembarkation in safety of those rescued is also required.
In addition, Europe needs to step up efforts to provide credible legal alternatives to dangerous voyages to protect people from the risks of traveling with smugglers. The collective response needs to maintain a strong capacity to rescue people at sea and increase safer ways for refugees to find safety in Europe, including enhanced resettlement, other forms of humanitarian admission and private sponsorship schemes. UNHCR is also calling on European governments to do more to facilitate family reunification and use programmes such as student or employment visas to benefit refugees.
The level of desperation among many of those involved, fleeing war, persecution and violence, including from Syria require our concerted efforts to respond. This trend began in June and July last year, before Mare Nostrum was established, and has continued in 2014. In addition, an increased number of women, children, including many unaccompanied, and elderly people are taking to dangerous sea routes. They face greater risks, are more vulnerable to abuse and have specific needs that require assistance after they are rescued.
These challenges cannot be addressed by a few states alone; a joint European response is needed, based on collaboration among states and EU support. These efforts also need to ensure additional initial reception facilities, adequate reception conditions, assistance in processing as well as identifying solutions for those in need of international protection
For more information on this topic, please contact:
- In Rome, In Rome, Carlotta Sami on mobile +39 335 679 4746
- In Rome, Federico Fossi on mobile +31 349 0843461
- In Geneva, William Spindler on mobile +41 79 217 3011
Related news and stories
Massive loss of life reported in latest Mediterranean tragedy
2015: The Year of Europe's Refugee Crisis
Loss of hope and deepening poverty driving Syrians to seek refuge in Europe
Music for Peace
Survivors tell harrowing tales of fight for air on "boat of death" off Libya
Your search for « UNHCR » matched 29767 results. Only the first 1,000 results are displayed. Displaying page 1 of 112 pages.
UNHCR Statistical Yearbook 2002 - Country Data Sheets1 Sep 2004 ... UNHCR Statistical Yearbook AFGHANISTAN 1951 Convention: Not State party Region (MDGs): Developing regions 1967 Protocol: Not State party Sub-region (MDGs): United Nations: Asia Bureau (UNHCR): Other ......
UNHCR Resettlement Handbook (complete publication)Jul 2011 ... UNHCR Resettlement Handbook Acknowledgments This revised UNHCR Resettlement Handbook is the product of close consultation and collaboration among UNHCR staff and resettlement partners. The Division of ......
UNHCR Tool Boxes on EU Asylum Matters: Tool Box 2: The Instruments1 Sep 2003 ... to free movement of persons AMSTERDAM TREATY: UNHCR calls for a fair and coherent EU asylum policy, ... Member States of the European Union (including UNHCR Position) - Protocol on the application of ......
UNHCR Handbook for the Protection of Women and Girls, First Edition (complete publication)1 Jan 2008 ... UNHCR Handbook for the Protection of Women and Girls Acknowledgments This Handbook is the product of collaborative efforts, resulting from extensive consultations with, and contributions, from UNHCR ......
UNHCR Tool Boxes on EU Asylum Matters: Tool Box 2: The Instruments - Part 4: Asylum1 Sep 2003 ... .........18 74 UNHCR Tool Boxes Tool Box II: The Instruments » »» ... For another, trends in decisions given by appellate courts suggest that new situations are 76 UNHCR ......
UNHCR Handbook for the Protection of Women and Girls, January 2008Jan 2008 ... UNHCR Handbook for the Protection of Women and Girls Acknowledgments This Handbook is the product of collaborative efforts, resulting from extensive consultations with, and contributions, from UNHCR ......
UNHCR Protection Training Manual for European Border and Entry Officials - 3. Who is a Refugee? Annex 8 - Procedural Standards for Refugee Status Determination under UNHCR's Mandate2011 ... . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1-1 Procedures for UNHCR Mandate RSD . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ... . . . . . . . . . . 1-3 A Complement to other UNHCR Documents and Resources . . . . . . . . . . . . ......
Enhancing UNHCR's capacity to monitor the protection, rights and well-being of refugees: Main report1 Jun 2004 ... refugees Main report By Ninette Kelley, email@example.com Peta Sandison, firstname.lastname@example.org ... Chapter 2. The protection framework Chapter 3. UNHCR's monitoring cycle and the assistance sector ......
2002 UNHCR population statistics (provisional)4 Aug 2003 ... 2002 UNHCR POPULATION STATISTICS (PROVISIONAL) Table 1. Asylum-seekers, refugees and others of concern to UNHCR, 2002 Data are provisional and subject to change. In bold and italics: 2001 figures ......