“What is happening in front of our eyes in Italy is an unfolding tragedy. In the course of last weekend, 12,600 migrants and refugees arrived on its shores, and an estimated 2,030 have lost their lives in the Mediterranean since the beginning of the year,” said High Commissioner Filippo Grandi.
“Let me stress that saving lives remains a top priority. Search and rescue by all those involved, including by NGOs, the Italian Coast Guard, and government authorities, is critical. We are only at the beginning of the summer, and without swift collective action, we can only expect more tragedies at sea.
“This cannot be an Italian problem alone. It is, first and foremost, a matter of international concern, requiring a joined-up, comprehensive regional approach. Europe in particular needs to be fully involved, added Grandi. “And the response to the immediate crisis must be matched by broader efforts by all concerned, to address the root causes behind migratory pressures, create better protection for people in transit, and address smuggling and trafficking.”
In total, 83,650 people have reached Italy by sea since the beginning of the year, which represents an increase of almost 20 per cent compared to the same period last year.
There is alarmingly high rate among arrivals of unaccompanied children or victims of sexual and gender based violence. Many have suffered extremely traumatic events, including extortion, kidnapping, sexual violence, and abuses back home and in countries on their way to Europe.
[Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees]