Further to an earlier story , an UN refugee agency official has said 210 illegal migrants were reported drowned or disappeared in the Strait of Sicily in June while attempting to cross from northern Africa into Europe. Migrants from northern and sub-Saharan Africa often attempt the treacherous journey in small, rickety boats after paying large sums to smugglers.
Paolo Artini, an official with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees office in Italy stated:-
“When it is a matter of saving lives at sea, a narrow interpretation of what constitutes a distress call, and any protracted discussion on search-and-rescue responsibilities should not be considered ethically acceptable,” .
He criticised “gaps in the legal framework concerning rescue at sea, and insufficient cooperation among states who often hold different views.”
Disputes have erupted recently over which country should take responsibility for migrants rescued in the international waters between Italy, Malta and Libya.
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