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“I am deeply saddened by this tragic event and the rising death toll of people in search of protection or a better life,” said FRA Director Michael O’Flaherty.

The recent drownings in the English Channel/la Manche are a sad reminder of the extreme dangers people face at the hands of unscrupulous people smugglers. It underlines the need to find human rights compliant solutions to the situation – including timely and proactive search and rescue operations, and enhanced cooperation and coordination among all coastal countries involved. Governments need to work together to find long-term, sustainable solutions.

FRA appreciates renewed efforts by governments to prevent such tragedies from happening.

Meanwhile, to safeguard the right to life, a core human right under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as well as the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights all coastal countries should continue and when necessary intensify their search and rescue operations coordinating their services in line with the relevant international conventions, such as the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, the International Convention on Maritime Search and Rescue and the International Salvage Convention.

FRA has outlined the perils migrants face at sea and suggested actions, also for safe and legal pathways for asylum seekers, to policymakers and practitioners at EU and national level.