Sunday, April 19, 2015

Migrant deaths in Mediterranean

House of Lords Official Report November 4, 2014 Column 1619

Lord Avebury (LD): My Lords, does my noble friend note the comment made by the UN special rapporteur on migrant rights that it is appalling to bank on a rise in the number in people who drown acting as a deterrent? Does he think that the EU views a steep rise in the number of people killed with complacency, if not with satisfaction, because more people are drowning and acting as a deterrent?
Lord Bates: It is certainly not the case to say that the Government have been passive on this. My right honourable friend the Home Secretary had meetings with her Italian counterparts last month, and will meet them again this month. We have extended our offers of support and of course we have looked at the countries from which most of these migrants are coming, namely Syria and Ethiopia. We are putting large sums of money—£700 million in the first instance, £360 million in the second—to try and help people to give themselves a proper life at home.

Its all very well to say, as the inane Philip Hammond does, that "we must target the traffickers". We don't have any jurisdiction over what criminals are doing in Libya, where there are two competing governments plus the Daesh and no effective law enforcement. There's a faint hope that the two governments might reach a compromise at UN brokered talks in Nigeria, but if not, there's no hope of dealing with the traffickers or the increasing flow of destitute migrants.

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