GENEVA (21 June 2023) – The UN Migrant Workers Commission(CMW) called on the European Union, the African Union and the League of Arab States to work together to establish safe and regular migration routes after at least 81 migrants drowned and hundreds more disappeared in one of Europe’s deadliest shipwrecks.
The Committee today issued the following statement to the media:
“We are appalled by the deaths and disappearances of hundreds of migrants who intended to flee their place of origin, cross the Mediterranean Sea and claim their legitimate human rights.
So far, 104 people have been rescued and 81 bodies have been recovered. However, hundreds of people are still missing and may be dead, including around 100 children, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the Greek Coast Guard and other sources.
Although the full circumstances surrounding this tragic sinking are yet to be determined, the Committee urges States of origin, transit and destination, including the African Union, the League of Arab States and EU countries, to cooperate to find lasting solutions to the problem. the most perilous and deadly migration routes through coordinated search and rescue, rapid disembarkation and, above all, safe and regular pathways.
We urge States to deploy all measures to protect the right to life under international human rights instruments, including the International convention on migrant workers. We remind States that the duty to rescue without delay persons in distress at sea is a fundamental principle of international maritime law, without any discrimination, whatever their nationality, their status or the circumstances in which they find themselves, including on board ships that are unseaworthy and under any circumstances. the intentions of the people on board. States must also ensure that all policies and practices on the high seas and in territorial waters effectively respect all human rights obligations, guaranteeing the right to life, dignity, safety and security. physical integrity of migrants in all circumstances.
Furthermore, all appropriate measures should be taken to ensure that suspected human smugglers and traffickers are identified and brought to justice.
We express our deep concern and sadness at this tragedy. Our most sincere condolences go to the families of the victims. We share their grief.
We urge the Greek governments to preserve the bodies of the deceased, identify them and inform their families, and provide the necessary support for the transfer of the bodies. As for the survivors, they should receive essential advice, as well as medical and mental care, for their speedy recovery.
We call on all States to respect the human rights of migrants, including asylum seekers, to fulfill their obligations under the International Convention and to comply with the Recommended Principles and Guidelines on Human Rights at International Borders and the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration.
We take this opportunity to call on the international community and States to ensure that such incidents do not happen again. We urge all relevant governments of host and transit countries to treat migrants in a safe, dignified and humane manner, in accordance with their international obligations.