Shipwrecks raise calls for safe passage
VALLETTA, Malta — Three deadly Mediterranean shipwrecks that claimed the lives of nearly 400 would-be asylum seekers fleeing war and repression sharpened calls on Saturday for humanitarian corridors to allow safe passage to Europe.
“Rules need to change,” said Joseph Muscat, Malta's prime minister. “As things stand we are building a cemetery within our Mediterranean Sea.”
Malta and Italy launched a rescue operation when a boat capsized on Friday, killing at least 30 people.
Facing unrest and persecution in Africa and the Middle East, many migrants risk the often perilous journey to Lampedusa, a gateway to Europe just 70 miles from Africa, in rickety boats procured by people smugglers who charge $2,200.
Most are asylum seekers, fleeing civil war in Syria or repression and mandatory conscription in Eritrea.
The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres expressed concern that Syrians fleeing conflict have sought to reach Europe by such a perilous route, calling it ‘‘inhumane.”
“They escaped bullets and bombs only to perish before they could ever claim asylum,” he said, adding that there had been reports that the vessel had been fired on shortly after departing Zwara, Libya.
U.N. Secretary General Ban-Ki-moon called for action to prevent tragedies “that places the vulnerability and human rights of migrants at the center,” while Pope Francis lamented that ‘‘too often we are blinded by our comfortable lives, and refuse to see those dying at our doorstep.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Iraqi terrorists are Islam’s enemy, Saudi cleric warns
- Afghanistan’s bid for transition tenuous
- Mideast crisis goes ‘from bad to worse’ as truce shatters
- Crisis puts Pakistan army back in game
- Kiev attacks on 2 fronts; Poroshenko preps to meet Merkel, Putin
- Israel: Rockets fired from Gaza, cease-fire broken
- Islamic State fighters massacre as many as 700 Syrian tribesmen, activists report
- U.S. decides against rescue of Yazidis with ‘far fewer’ stranded than thought
- Russia asks for Swiss cheese
- Thorny divisions vex Gaza truce talks between Israel, Hamas
- Dozens killed in shelling of convoy, Ukraine says; U.S. unsure who’s responsible