Five Nobel peace laureates are calling on European Union officials and member states to provide refugees fleeing conflict-torn countries protection and safe passage to Europe. States should also provide asylum in European countries, say the laureates.
This comes in response to the proposal made earlier this month by European Commission to launch a security operation in the Mediterranean that would eliminate the trafficking operations. “The most important thing right now is to save lives,” says laureate Shirin Ebadi. “Bombing boats won’t stem the tide of human despair and desperation.”
The International Organization for Migration said on Wednesday that 1,840 migrants had been lost at sea or were known to have died while crossing the Mediterranean so far this year. That compares with 425 people during the same period last year.
“It is time to learn the lessons of history, that militarism and war do not solve problems but make situations much worse. The international community must recognize their role in the destruction and destabilization of countries such as Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq and Sudan,” urges laureate Mairead Maguire. “We now have a moral and ethical responsibility to provide assistance to refugees who are the victims of [some Western states’] foreign policies, and should immediately focus on the rebuilding of countries devastated and divided by war and invasions.”
European Union Asks Member Countries to Accept Quotas of Migrants, The New York Times, May 27 2015.
UN critical over EU’s refugee crisis plan, Irish Examiner, May 28 2015.
EU seeks approval from UN to sink human smugglers’ ships in Libyan territorial waters, The National Post, May 11 2015.