12 January 2015

People aboard the Bourbon Argos during the ship's transit to Italy. After a rescue in the Mediterranean Sea.
Photo: Francesco Zizola

Following the deadly tragedies which reportedly claimed 300 of lives as ships carrying migrants to reach Europe sank in the Mediterranean Sea, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) calls on the European Union (EU) to immediately reassess its policies on migrants and border controls, and to stop putting thousands of lives at stake.

“With the escalating instability in Libya, Syria and Iraq, we can only see the arrivals of migrants continue to grow as more people fleeing war,” said Manu Moncada, Operations Coordinator in Italy

MSF ship Bourbon Argos rescued three boats crossing the Mediterranean Sea to find a safe heaven in Europe.
Photo: Francesca Mapelli

He said the over-restrictive policies on border controls of the EU member states had left the dangerous sea route as the only option for the desperate migrants. “Italy and other EU member states have to stand up and take up their responsibilities to address the situation to avoid these unnecessary deaths,” he said.

After the closure of the sea rescue operation Mare Nostrum last year, MSF expressed concerns that the situation would only get more disastrous as the high season of departures of migrants crossing Mediterranean Sea starts again in the next months. 

MSF reiterates the sea rescue effort is absolutely needed when people have no other legal options to reach Europe and they should not have to risk their lives for a second time when they are already fleeing danger in their home countries.

Find out more about MSF in Italy.