- Yesterday in Paris European leaders committed to the rapid redistribution of refugees and migrants rescued at sea in Europe
- Only half of the EU member states committed to the new “solidarity mechanism”
- Paris agreement is the first step in ensuring a joint humane European response to migration
Brussels, Belgium, July 23, 2019 — The International Rescue Committee (IRC) welcomes the commitment of fourteen EU leaders to put the lives of migrants and refugees rescued in the Mediterranean at the heart of their decision-making process. The IRC calls upon the remaining EU Member States to join the scheme and demonstrate their solidarity through fair commitments on the relocation of people in search of protection.
As the conflict in Libya shows no sign of abating, the number of people who risk their lives crossing the Mediterranean to seek safety in Europe is unlikely to decrease any time soon. To this end, the IRC urges the Member States who signed up to the new solidarity mechanism to swiftly translate their commitment into action.
The agreement reached in Paris should be the first step towards a renewed commitment of the European Union to a truly common European asylum system. The new European Parliament and the European Commission should work hand in hand with EU Member States to ensure that the asylum reform is agreed and implemented, whilst the Commission should encourage member states to contribute towards a joint EU resettlement pledge for the upcoming Global Refugee Forum.
Imogen Sudbery, Director of Policy and Advocacy for Europe said:
“Yesterday’s agreement on a new solidarity mechanism is a promising step towards a more coordinated and predictable European response to migration, respecting the dignity and rights of people rescued at sea. The current deadlock around the Dublin agreement and the Common European Asylum System cannot be an excuse for European countries to allow the current lack of coordination to continue indefinitely.
As the Central Mediterranean remains one of the deadliest migration routes in the world, the European Union should also urgently resume search and rescue operations, which are critical to saving lives of people stranded at sea.
Libya is not a safe place to which rescued people can be returned. The EU should work with its partners in Libya to ensure orderly, safe and rapid evacuations of the 3,800 migrants and refugees trapped in detention centres, who still remain at imminent risk of getting caught in the conflict.”
The International Rescue Committee responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises, helping to restore health, safety, education, economic wellbeing, and power to people devastated by conflict and disaster. Founded in 1933 at the call of Albert Einstein, the IRC is at work in over 40 countries and 29 U.S. cities helping people to survive, reclaim control of their future and strengthen their communities. Learn more at www.rescue-uk.org and follow the IRC on Twitter & Facebook.