Statement on the Mediterranean Migrant Deaths

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Responding to the loss of several hundred lives after a vessel carrying 700 migrants capsized in Libyan waters south of Lampedusa on 19 April, Bishop Patrick Lynch, Bishop for Migrants, called on European Union member states to ‘work collaboratively’ to find a solution to these humanitarian disasters:

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of the men, women and children dying almost daily in the Mediterranean Sea as they desperately search for a safer life in Europe.

“We call on all EU member states to involve themselves in the relief efforts and to work collaboratively to find a swift, just, effective and compassionate solution to these humanitarian disasters.”

Some 1,600 migrants are thought to have lost their lives crossing the Mediterranean so far in 2015. 

Bishop Lynch is Chair of the Bishops’ Conference Office for Migration Policy.

Pope: Mediterranean could become ‘vast cemetery’ of migrants

Back in November 2014, in a speech to the European Parliament in Strasbourg, Pope Francis warned that a lack of ‘mutual support’ in the EU to find solutions to the problem of slave labour could lead to the Mediterranean Sea becoming a ‘vast cemetery’:

“There needs to be a united response to the question of migration. We cannot allow the Mediterranean to become a vast cemetery!

“The boats landing daily on the shores of Europe are filled with men and women who need acceptance and assistance.

“The absence of mutual support within the European Union runs the risk of encouraging particularistic solutions to the problem, solutions which fail to take into account the human dignity of immigrants, and thus contribute to slave labour and continuing social tensions.

“Europe will be able to confront the problems associated with immigration only if it is capable of clearly asserting its own cultural identity and enacting adequate legislation to protect the rights of European citizens and to ensure the acceptance of immigrants.”