UNHCR concerned over fate of missing boat people

UNHCR calls on Malta and Italy to strengthen the search operations.

The operation was being coordinated by the Italians until authorities in Rome insisted that the island of Lampedusa was to be considered as an “unsafe” port and passed on the rescue to the Maltese.
The operation was being coordinated by the Italians until authorities in Rome insisted that the island of Lampedusa was to be considered as an “unsafe” port and passed on the rescue to the Maltese.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has expressed deep concern for the fate of tens of persons on board of a boat coming from Libya who have sent out SOS calls on Tuesday evening.

The presence of the migrants has reportedly also been confirmed by a number of Somali relatives in Italy who have received the distress calls.

The boat has not been sighted yet and this raises UNHCR concern, especially as it is much more dangerous to cross the Mediterranean in the current season.

"UNHCR calls on Malta and Italy to strengthen the search operations in order to save the lives of tens of persons at the mercy of the sea," spokesperson Fabrizio Ellul said.

The boat was originally sited Wednesday night by an Italian reconnaissance aircraft. The operation was being coordinated by the Italians until authorities in Rome insisted that the island of Lampedusa was to be considered as an "unsafe" port and passed on the rescue to the Maltese.

Tonight, an AFM King Air aircraft is performing patrols over the Mediterranean sea in a bid to locate the boat and rescue the migrants who have reported to be taking in water.

 

 

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By their declarations UNHCR and similar do-gooder organisations are providing a pull factor for illegal immigrants to cross the sea in unseaworthy vessels at the risk of their lives. If these do-gooder institutions really wanted to save lives, they would send a strong message to the illegal immigrants, wanting to cross the sea to improve their standard of living, and tell them about the danger involved. UNHCR and the other do-gooder institutions should warn illegal immigrants against taking to boats, instead of calling on Malta and Italy to facilitate the illegal influx.