UN expert restates call on EU states to prioritise migrants' human rights

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François Crépeau

A top human rights official has reiterated his call on all European Union member states to urgently adopt a new approach to migration that places the rights of migrants at the forefront.

The UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, François Crépeau, said Monday that "Last week's tragic event off the coast of Italy, which has already claimed the lives of over 100 migrants, highlights the human tragedy that migration can entail."

Only 150 of the 500 migrants aboard the overcrowded ship are reported to have survived the perilous trip across the Mediterranean when the vessel sank after a fire broke out. The victims, which include a number of women and children, are believed to be mostly Eritreans and Somalis.

Mr. Crépeau, who attended a crucial discussion on international migration and development, convened by the UN General Assembly in New York last week, said "Unfortunately, this tragedy is just one in a long line of migration-related deaths at borders, be it in deserts, in mountainous regions, as well as at sea, not only in the Mediterranean but around the world."

The expert warned that "If countries continue to criminalise irregular migration, without adopting new legal channels for migration, especially for low-skilled migrants, thus limiting the possibilities for asylum seekers and migrants to securely and regularly reach safe destinations, the number of migrants risking their lives on dangerously overcrowded and unseaworthy vessels over perilous sea routes can only increase."

Donn Bobb, United Nations.

Duration: 1’22″

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