Boldrini wants asylum requests allowed in transit countries

EU shoud go to Africa to stop departures there, Italian minister

22 July, 20:29

    Italian Chamber's Speaker Laura Boldrini Italian Chamber's Speaker Laura Boldrini

    (ANSAmed) - ROME - The speaker of Italy's lower house of parliament, Laura Boldrini, called on Tuesday for migrants to be allowed to make asylum requests in transit countries.

    ''We can't just leave them in the hands of traffickers,'' she said, underscoring that the shipwrecks of the past few days in the Mediterranean are ''untenable''. ''What we are seeing,'' said Boldrini, who took part on Tuesday in the conference she had organized entitled 'Before Taking to the Sea: from resettlement to humanitarian admission', ''is almost a war between men and the sea that causes hundreds of deaths and missing persons. It is a European border and Europe must take action. FRONTEX must be reviewed and a new system activated.''

    ''Europe should go to Africa and set up there - in the countries of origin and transit - a system so that migrants do not leave,'' said Interior Minister Angelino Alfano. ''Mare Nostrum,'' he added, referring to the Italian search-and-rescue operation for rafts carrying migrants in the Mediterranean,''should be replaced by FRONTEX vessels.'' ''While waiting for Europe to regain its conscience, Italy can give the continent a 'jolt of humanity', acting alone to reduce the flow of those trying to go by sea. The starting point is to immediately assist family reunification requests, which can be submitted to our consular network by refugees already recognized as such by the UN,'' said Undersecretary for Foreign Affairs Mario Giro.

    Amnesty International also spoke on the issue of migration on Tuesday. ''The EU remains silent while hundreds of people die off its coasts,'' was the message from the Italian island of Lampedusa, where it is conducting its fourth human rights camp.

    The total number of people who have drowned in the stretch of sea between Libya and Italy over the past few days is unknown, but estimates say hundreds have died. While Italy's efforts through Mare Nostrum are praiseworthy, the international organization said, it is clear that search-and-rescue operations at sea can be carried out effectively only through joint action that all EU members can play a part in. The growing number of people dying at sea highlights the ineffectiveness of the EU's current immigration and asylum policies, concentrated as they are on stopping people from getting to Europe, with the sole effect of pushing the desperate to undertake ever riskier journeys. European states, Amnesty said, must offer safe and legal channels for access to protection for refugees. To start with, the number of places available for resettlement and humanitarian admission should be raised and refugee family reunification with relatives still abroad should be assisted. (ANSAmed).

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