IOM wants Europe to open 'safe routes' for migration

NGO says international community must apply same resolve as it did to fighting piracy in East Africa

IOM wants Europe to open 'safe routes' for migration

World Bulletin / News Desk

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) spokesman has told Anadolu Agency that the European Union has to take in more refugees and create “safe and legal channels” for those making the dangerous journey to Europe.

Itayi Viriri was speaking following a major incident last week where a boat carrying an estimated 600 migrants capsized off the coast of Libya en route to Europe.

"A good start would be better coordination amongst EU member states to deal with migration. So far only Italy and Greece are taking in significant numbers and other EU states need to take in more refugees and open up more safe and legal channels of migration," Viriri told Anadolu Agency.

"It is estimated that several European economies will require significant numbers of migrants to support their economies for decades to come and yet they are ignoring all these able-bodied and mostly young people who leave their countries of origins with a strong desire and willingness to work and be productive part of societies they find themselves in," he added.

A boat estimated to be carrying up to 600 migrants capsized off Libya’s coast on Wednesday, with 373 of them rescued and 25 bodies recovered so far. Viriri said: "We can now say that more than 200 migrants feared dead."

"With yet another tragedy and more loss of life, IOM is greatly concerned at the role criminal gangs are playing in these tragedies," Viriri added.

The international community must deal decisively with these smugglers, who peddling in human desperation and causing untold suffering and loss of life," he said.

Viriri said: "The international community must show the same resolve and coordination it showed when tackling piracy off the east coast of Africa a few years ago."

"In this day and age, we should not be losing any lives at sea in the manner we are witnessing now. Would-be migrants and refugees should not be cornered into such levels of desperation that they have to resort to entrusting their lives to unscrupulous criminal smuggling gangs," he said.

More than 2,000 migrants have died and nearly 188,000 have been rescued so far in 2015 while trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea from North Africa to reach Europe, according to the IOM.

A total of 3,279 migrants lost their lives while trying to cross the Mediterranean in 2014.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 08 Ağustos 2015, 12:06