FRA reiterates call for rights-based EU migration policy following latest deaths in Mediterranean

As up to 950 people are feared dead in the latest tragedy in the Mediterranean Sea, FRA reiterates its call for a holistic, fundamental rights-oriented EU migration policy in order to save lives and combat the smugglers that seek to make financial gain out of the desperate situation of people in need of protection.

“Adults and children fleeing persecution or simply seeking a better future for themselves or their families are dying in horrific circumstances,” said FRA interim Director Constantinos Manolopoulos. “No single country or organisation can solve this issue alone, and this is why we need to redouble our efforts in the EU to develop a comprehensive migration policy based on solidarity – both with the migrants and with each other.”

With figures from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees showing that the number of refugees, asylum seekers and internally displaced people worldwide reached its highest mark since the Second World War, solutions are urgently needed. FRA has argued for a fundamental rights-based approach to border surveillance with greater cooperation between EU Member States and third countries, as well as an increase in the number of legal avenues by which those in need of international protection can reach the EU.

In this context, EU Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos said at FRA’s 2014 Fundamental Rights Conference that one of the reasons for so many lost lives is that it is too difficult for people seeking protection to enter the EU legally. A recent FRA paper discusses the lack of legal entry options and proposes ways of increasing access to the EU for people in need of international protection, helping to make the right to asylum set forth in Article 18 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights a reality for refugees and other people in need of international protection.

For more information, see FRA’s report Fundamental rights at Europe's southern sea borders